Multifaceted Aspects of Metabolic Plasticity in Human Cholangiocarcinoma: An Overview of Current Perspectives

Cells. 2020 Mar 3;9(3):596. doi: 10.3390/cells9030596.


Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a deadly tumor without an effective therapy. Unique metabolic and bioenergetics features are important hallmarks of tumor cells. Metabolic plasticity allows cancer cells to survive in poor nutrient environments and maximize cell growth by sustaining survival, proliferation, and metastasis. In recent years, an increasing number of studies have shown that specific signaling networks contribute to malignant tumor onset by reprogramming metabolic traits. Several evidences demonstrate that numerous metabolic mediators represent key-players of CCA progression by regulating many signaling pathways. Besides the well-known Warburg effect, several other different pathways involving carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids metabolism are altered in CCA. The goal of this review is to highlight the main metabolic processes involved in the cholangio-carcinogeneis that might be considered as potential novel druggable candidates for this disease.

Keywords: OXPHOS; PGC-1α; cholangiocarcinoma; fatty acid synthase; fatty acids; mitochondria; tricarboxylic acid cycle.

Publication types

  • Review