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Review Article

The Influence of Mitochondrial Energy and 1C Metabolism on the Efficacy of Anticancer Drugs: Exploring Potential Mechanisms of Resistance

[ Vol. 30 , Issue. 11 ]


Marika Franczak, Isabel Toenshoff, Gerrit Jansen, Ryszard T. Smolenski, Elisa Giovannetti and Godefridus J. Peters*   Pages 1209 - 1231 ( 23 )


Mitochondria are the main energy factory in living cells. To rapidly proliferate and metastasize, neoplastic cells increase their energy requirements. Thus, mitochondria become one of the most important organelles for them. Indeed, much research shows the interplay between cancer chemoresistance and altered mitochondrial function. In this review, we focus on the differences in energy metabolism between cancer and normal cells to better understand their resistance and how to develop drugs targeting energy metabolism and nucleotide synthesis. One of the differences between cancer and normal cells is the higher nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) level, a cofactor for the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA), which enhances their proliferation and helps cancer cells survive under hypoxic conditions. An important change is a metabolic switch called the Warburg effect. This effect is based on the change of energy harvesting from oxygen-dependent transformation to oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), adapting them to the tumor environment. Another mechanism is the high expression of one-carbon (1C) metabolism enzymes. Again, this allows cancer cells to increase proliferation by producing precursors for the synthesis of nucleotides and amino acids. We reviewed drugs in clinical practice and development targeting NAD+, OXPHOS, and 1C metabolism. Combining novel drugs with conventional antineoplastic agents may prove to be a promising new way of anticancer treatment.


Cancer, mitochondria, NAD+, oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), 1C metabolism, resistance.


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