The TCA cycle as a bridge between oncometabolism and DNA transactions in cancer

Semin Cancer Biol. 2017 Dec:47:50-56. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2017.06.008. Epub 2017 Jun 20.


Cancer cells exploit metabolic rearrangements for sustaining their high proliferation rate and energy demand. The TCA cycle is a central metabolic hub necessary for ATP production and for providing precursors used in many biosynthetic pathways. Thus, dysregulation of the TCA cycle flux is frequently observed in cancer. The identification of mutations in several enzymes of the TCA cycle in human tumours demonstrated a direct connection between this metabolic pathway and cancer occurrence. Moreover, changes in the expression/activity of these enzymes were also shown to promote metabolic adaptation of cancer cells. In this review, the main genetic and non-genetic alterations of TCA cycle in cancer will be described. Particular attention will be given to extrametabolic roles of TCA cycle enzymes and metabolites underlying the regulation of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA transactions.

Keywords: Epigenetics; Oncometabolism; TCA cycle; mtDNA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Citric Acid Cycle*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation*


  • Adenosine Triphosphate