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

mote tumor formation as a result of efflux from mitochondria and accumulation of their substrates, fumarate and succinate. The researchers found that in colon cancer, accumulation of these metabolites may be caused by a significant decrease in the enzymes' expression. This was confirmed when metabolomics data from colon tumor patients showed significantly higher concentrations of fumarate in tumors than in normal tissue.

"These are just several examples of how cancer cells use various creative mechanisms to hijack the metabolism of native cells for their own purposes," said Dr. Vitkup.

For cancer researchers looking for new drug targets, Dr. Vitkup's team also found hundreds of differences between normal and cancer cells' use of isoenzymes. This opens up additional possibilities for turning off cancer's fuel and supply lines. Isoenzymes often catalyze the same reactions, but have different kinetic properties: Some act quickly and sustain rapid growth, while others are more sluggish. In kidney and liver cancers, for example, a quick-acting aldolase isoenzymesuitable for fast cell proliferationwas found to be more prevalent than the more typical slow-moving version found in normal kidney and liver tissue. Although a few examples of differential isoenzyme expression in tumors were already known, the Columbia researchers identified hundreds of isoenzymes with cancer-specific expression patterns.

"Inhibiting specific isoenzymes in tumors may be a way to selectively hit cancer cells without affecting normal cells, which could get by with other isoenzymes," said Dr. Hu.

In fact, a recent study from Matthew Vander Heiden's laboratory demonstrated the potential of targeting a specific isoenzyme, pyruvate kinase M2, expression of which often increases in tumors. "The comprehensive expression analysis suggests that a similar approach could potentially be applied in multiple other cases," said Dr. Vander Heiden.

Targeting metabolis
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Contact: Karin Eskenazi
ket2116@cumc.columbia.edu
212-342-0508
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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