Reprogramming of glucose, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism for cancer progression

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2016 Jan;73(2):377-92. doi: 10.1007/s00018-015-2070-4. Epub 2015 Oct 23.


Metabolic reprogramming is widely observed during cancer development to confer cancer cells the ability to survive and proliferate, even under the stressed, such as nutrient-limiting, conditions. It is famously known that cancer cells favor the "Warburg effect", i.e., the enhanced glycolysis or aerobic glycolysis, even when the ambient oxygen supply is sufficient. In addition, deregulated anabolism/catabolism of fatty acids and amino acids, especially glutamine, serine and glycine, have been identified to function as metabolic regulators in supporting cancer cell growth. Furthermore, extensive crosstalks are being revealed between the deregulated metabolic network and cancer cell signaling. These exciting advancements have inspired new strategies for treating various malignancies by targeting cancer metabolism. Here we review recent findings related to the regulation of glucose, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism, their crosstalk, and relevant cancer therapy strategy.

Keywords: Amino acid; Cancer; Fatty acid; Glucose; Metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glycolysis
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Amino Acids
  • Fatty Acids
  • Glucose