This was first recognized in the early twentieth century by the German physiologist Otto Warburg. In the presence oxygen, "normal" tissues produce their energy by metabolizing glucose to pyruvate via glycolysis followed by oxidative phosphorylation. Lactate is produced, however, from the glycolysis-derived pyruvate under anaerobic conditions. Warburg noted that proliferating tumors produced lactate from glucose despite being well oxygenated, which is now referred to as the "Warburg effect". Apart from glucose metabolism, glutamine metabolism (glutaminolysis) is also deregulated within the cancer cell to fuel their growth.
Altered metabolism within cancer cells increases their biosynthesis of macromolecules and allows them to maintain a permissive environment, to cope with the increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Drivers behind this altered metabolism include altered gene expression as well as altered activity of metabolic enzymes. These alterations engage metabolic pathways that may not occur within normal cells.
This poster covers the basic enzyme and protein alterations of cancer cell metabolism focusing on glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, and altered transcriptional regulation thereof.