Evolution of Tumor Metabolism might Reflect Carcinogenesis as a Reverse Evolution process (Dismantling of Multicellularity)

Cancers (Basel). 2011 Jul 22;3(3):3002-17. doi: 10.3390/cancers3033002.


Carcinogenesis occurs through a series of steps from normal into benign and finally malignant phenotype. This cancer evolutionary trajectory has been accompanied by similar metabolic transformation from normal metabolism into Pasteur and/or Crabtree-Effects into Warburg-Effect and finally Cannibalism and/or Lactate-Symbiosis. Due to lactate production as an end-product of glycolysis, tumor colonies acquire new phenotypes that rely on lactate as energetic fuel. Presence of Warburg-Effect indicates that some tumor cells undergo partial (if not complete) de-endosymbiosis and so cancer cells have been become unicellular microorganism (anti-Dollo's Law) specially when they evolve to develop cannibalism as way of metabolism while oxidative types of cells that rely on lactate, as their energetic fuel, might represent extra-endosymbiosis. Thus, at the end, the cancer colony could be considered as integrated metabolic ecosystem. Proper understanding of tumor metabolism will contribute to discover potential anticancer agents besides conventional chemotherapy.