Online ISSN : 1347-5800
Print ISSN : 0044-5991
ISSN-L : 0044-5991
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  • Kenta Masui, Mio Harachi, Webster K. Cavenee, Paul S. Mischel, Noriyuk ...
    Type: Review
    2020 Volume 53 Issue 1 Pages 1-10
    Published: February 28, 2020
    Released: February 28, 2020
    [Advance publication] Released: February 26, 2020

    Cancer is widely considered to be a set of genetic diseases that are currently classified by tissue and cell type of origin and, increasingly, by its molecular characteristics. This latter aspect is based primarily upon oncogene gains, tumor suppressor losses, and associated transcriptional profiles. However, cancers are also characterized by profound alterations in cellular metabolism and epigenetic landscape. It is particularly noteworthy that cancer-causing genomic defects not only activate cell cycle progression, but regulate the opportunistic uptake and utilization of nutrients, effectively enabling tumors to maximize growth and drug resistance in changing tissue and systemic microenvironments. Shifts in chromatin architecture are central to this dynamic behavior. Further, changes in nutrient uptake and utilization directly affect chromatin structure. In this review, we describe a set of recent discoveries of metabolic and epigenetic reprogramming in cancer, and especially focus on the genomically well-characterized brain tumor, glioblastoma. Further, we discuss a new mode of metabolic regulation driven by epigenetic mechanisms, that enables cancer cells to autonomously activate iron metabolism for their survival. Together, these underscore the integration of genetic mutations with metabolic reprogramming and epigenetic shifts in cancer, suggesting a new means to identifying patient subsets suitable for specific precision therapeutics.