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The current state of cancer metabolism


The study of cancer metabolism has grown exponentially over the past decade. Although the initial observations by Otto Warburg and his contemporaries during the early twentieth century strongly suggested that core cellular metabolism was altered during the process of malignant transformation, the oncogene revolution and the rise of genetic technology in the latter half of the century shifted the focus of research in cancer biology towards the specific mutations and alterations in signalling pathways responsible for tumorigenesis. However, discoveries during the past two decades, and the successful clinical implementation of imaging approaches based on the metabolic phenotype of some tumours have once again highlighted that changes to metabolic processes are required for cells to escape from their defined roles as integrated parts of a tissue and organ system, and become an independent clone of cells that manifests itself as malignant disease.

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Correspondence to Rob A. Cairns or Tak W. Mak.

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Cairns, R., Mak, T. The current state of cancer metabolism. Nat Rev Cancer 16, 613–614 (2016).

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