Tumorigenesis is dependent on the reprogramming of cellular metabolism as both direct and indirect consequence of oncogenic mutations. A common feature of cancer cell metabolism is the ability to acquire necessary nutrients from a frequently nutrient-poor environment and utilize these nutrients to both maintain viability and build new biomass. The alterations in intracellular and extracellular metabolites that can accompany cancer-associated metabolic reprogramming have profound effects on gene expression, cellular differentiation, and the tumor microenvironment. In this Perspective, we have organized known cancer-associated metabolic changes into six hallmarks: (1) deregulated uptake of glucose and amino acids, (2) use of opportunistic modes of nutrient acquisition, (3) use of glycolysis/TCA cycle intermediates for biosynthesis and NADPH production, (4) increased demand for nitrogen, (5) alterations in metabolite-driven gene regulation, and (6) metabolic interactions with the microenvironment. While few tumors display all six hallmarks, most display several. The specific hallmarks exhibited by an individual tumor may ultimately contribute to better tumor classification and aid in directing treatment.
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