Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Carbon Metabolism

  • Nianli Sang
  • Chengqian Yin
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_7133-4


Cells utilize reduced carbon sources including carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids, to satisfy the basic needs for adenosine triphosphate (ATP), reducing power and building blocks, which are critical for cell survival, growth, and proliferation.


Three fundamental needs must be satisfied to support the robust proliferation of cancer cells: sufficient amount of ATP production to provide energy, rapid biosynthesis of biomolecules to support cell structure and function, and delicate maintenance of cellular redox status. Carbon metabolism plays an essential role in all three aspects (Yin et al. 2012; Cairns et al. 2011), and oncogenic signaling pathways activate the utilization of carbon sources to facilitate cell survival, growth, proliferation, and cancer progression.

There are three major types of carbon sources for cell metabolism: carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids. Glucose is the major product of carbohydrates after digestion and absorption and is a...


Free Fatty Acid Pentose Phosphate Pathway Carbon Metabolism Citric Acid Cycle Flavin Adenine Dinucleotide 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyDrexel University College of Arts and SciencesPhiladelphiaUSA