Anticancer strategies based on the metabolic profile of tumor cells: Therapeutic targeting of the Warburg effect

Xi Sha Chen, Lan Ya Li, Yi Di Guan, Jin Ming Yang, Yan Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Tumor cells rely mainly on glycolysis for energy production even in the presence of sufficient oxygen, a phenomenon termed the Warburg effect, which is the most outstanding characteristic of energy metabolism in cancer cells. This metabolic adaptation is believed to be critical for tumor cell growth and proliferation, and a number of onco-proteins and tumor suppressors, including the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway, Myc, hypoxia-inducible factor and p53, are involved in the regulation of this metabolic adaptation. Moreover, glycolytic cancer cells are often invasive and impervious to therapeutic intervention. Thus, altered energy metabolism is now appreciated as a hallmark of cancer and a promising target for cancer treatment. A better understanding of the biology and the regulatory mechanisms of aerobic glycolysis has the potential to facilitate the development of glycolysis-based therapeutic interventions for cancer. In addition, glycolysis inhibition combined with DNA damaging drugs or chemotherapeutic agents may be effective anticancer strategies through weakening cell damage repair capacity and enhancing drug cytotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1019
Number of pages7
JournalActa Pharmacologica Sinica
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 CPS and SIMM All rights reserved.


  • Warburg effect
  • anticancer strategy
  • cancer cells metabolism
  • glycolysis cancer cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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