, Volume 65, Issue 24, pp 3981-3999

Roles of p53, Myc and HIF-1 in Regulating Glycolysis — the Seventh Hallmark of Cancer

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Despite diversity in genetic events in oncogenesis, cancer cells exhibit a common set of functional characteristics. Otto Warburg discovered that cancer cells have consistently higher rates of glycolysis than normal cells. The underlying mechanisms leading to the Warburg phenomenon include mitochondrial changes, upregulation of rate-limiting enzymes/proteins in glycolysis and intracellular pH regulation, hypoxia-induced switch to anaerobic metabolism, and metabolic reprogramming after loss of p53 function. The regulation of energy metabolism can be traced to a “triad” of transcription factors: c-MYC, HIF-1 and p53. Oncogenetic changes involve a nonrandom set of gene deletions, amplifications and mutations, and many oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes cluster along the signaling pathways that regulate c-MYC, HIF-1 and p53. Glycolysis in cancer cells has clinical implications in cancer diagnosis, treatment and interaction with diabetes mellitus. Many drugs targeting energy metabolism are in development. Future advances in technology may bring about transcriptome and metabolome-guided chemotherapy.

Received 24 April 2008; received after revision 16 June 2008; accepted 25 July 2008