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Hundreds of alterations and potential drug targets to starve cancer tumors identified
Date:4/21/2013

Right now we have something like a static road map. We know where the streets are, but we don't know how traffic flows through the streets and intersections," said Jie Hu, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia and first author of the study. "What researchers need is something similar to Google Traffic, which shows the flow and dynamic changes in car traffic."

Drs. Hu and Vitkup's study is an important step toward achieving this dynamic view of cancer metabolism. Notably, the researchers found that the tumor-induced expression changes are significantly different across diverse tumors. Although some metabolic changessuch as an increase in nucleotide biosynthesis and glycolysisappear to be more frequent across tumors, others, such as changes in oxidation phosphorylation, are heterogeneous.

"Our study clearly demonstrates that there are no single and universal changes in cancer metabolism," said Matthew Vander Heiden, MD, PhD, assistant professor at MIT, and a co-author of the paper. "That means that to understand transformation in cancer metabolism, researchers will need to consider how different tumor types adapt their metabolism to meet their specific needs."

The researchers also found that expression changes can mimic or cooperate with cancer mutations to drive tumor formation. A notable example is the enzyme isocitrate dehydrogenase. In several cancers, such as glioblastoma and acute myeloid leukemia, mutations in this enzyme are known to produce a specific metabolite2-hydroxyglutaratethat promotes tumor growth. The Columbia team found that isocitrate dehydrogenase expression significantly increases in tumors with the recurrent mutations. Such an overexpression may create an efficient enzymatic factory for overproduction of 2-hydroxyglutarate.

The analysis also led the researchers to an interesting finding in colon cancer. In several other cancers, mutations in two enzymessuccinate dehydrogenase and fumarate hydratasecan pro
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Contact: Karin Eskenazi
ket2116@cumc.columbia.edu
212-342-0508
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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