Watching kidney cancer metabolism

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Science  07 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6406, pp. 988-989
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6406.988-c

Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is the most common and aggressive form of kidney cancer and undergoes extensive metabolic reprogramming. Courtney et al. infused a glucose isotope into patients with primary ccRCC who were undergoing surgery and traced metabolic and isotopic flux. Compared with cells of the adjacent kidney, tumor cells exhibited prominent glycolysis, whereas the presence of tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolites (indicating glucose oxidation) was diminished. ccRCC tumors were more glycolytic compared with brain and lung tumors from different patients. In one patient who was infused with an acetate isotope (acetate is a direct substrate of the TCA cycle), low TCA cycle turnover of metabolites was also observed. This phenomenon describes the Warburg effect of metabolism in ccRCC and highlights metabolic differences between different types of cancer.

Cell Metab. 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.07.020 (2018).

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