Is the Hoffman Effect for Methionine Overuse Analogous to the Warburg Effect for Glucose Overuse in Cancer?

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1866)


The general cancer-specific metabolic defect of methionine (MET) dependence is due to MET overuse for aberrant transmethylation reactions. The excess use of MET for aberrant transmethylation reactions apparently diverts methyl groups from DNA. The resulting global DNA hypomethylation is also a general phenomenon in cancer and leads to unstable genomes and aneuploid karyotypes. The excessive and aberrant use of MET in cancer is readily observed in [11C]-MET-PET imaging, where high uptake of [11C]-MET results in a very strong and selective tumor signal compared to normal tissue background for brain cancer and possibly other cancers. [11C]-MET is superior to [18C]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) for PET imaging, suggesting that MET overuse in cancer (“Hoffman effect”) is greater than glucose overuse in cancer (“Warburg effect”).

Key words

Methionine dependence Cellular methionine S-Adenosylmethionine Transmethylation DNA methylation Hoffman effect 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AntiCancer, Inc.San DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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