Mitochondrial Metabolism: Yin and Yang for Tumor Progression

23 Nov 2017

Altered metabolism is a distinct feature of cancer cells. During transformation, the entire metabolic network is rewired to efficiently convert nutrients to biosynthetic precursors to sustain cancer cell growth and proliferation. Whilst the molecular underpinnings of this metabolic reprogramming have been described, its role in tumor progression is still under investigation. Importantly, the mitochondrion is a central actor in many of the metabolic processes that are altered in tumors. Yet, we have only begun to understand the dualities of mitochondrial function during cancer metastasis and therapy resistance. Paradoxically, mitochondrial metabolism can be both advantageous and detrimental to these processes, highlighting the need for a better understanding of the molecular and microenvironmental cues that define the role of this fascinating organelle. In this review article, we present an updated view on the different mitochondrial metabolic strategies adopted by cancer cells to overcome the many hurdles faced during tumor progression.