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Mitochondria And Cancer: The Warburg Fact | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2167-7700

Chemotherapy: Open Access
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Review Article

Mitochondria And Cancer: The Warburg Fact

Albert M Kroon and Jan-Willem Taanman*

Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Institute of Neurology, University College London, UK

*Corresponding Author:
Jan-Willem Taanman
Department of Clinical Neurosciences
Institute of Neurology, University College London
Royal Free Campus, Rowland Hill Street, London, NW3 2PF, UK
Tel: +44 20 7794 0500
Fax: +44 20 7472 6829
E-mail: j.taan[email protected]

Received date: June 04, 2014; Accepted date: July 01, 2014; Published date: July 04, 2014

Citation: Kroon AM, Taanman JW (2014) Mitochondria and Cancer: The Warburg Fact. Chemotherapy 3:134. doi:10.4172/2167-7700.1000134

Copyright: © 2014 Kroon AM, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Mitochondria play a key role in the energy generation of cells. Here, we reassess the opportunities to fight cancer by manipulating the expression of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The mtDNA encodes 13 polypeptides that are all critical for oxidative phosphorylation. Most cancers, if not all, use glycolysis as main bioenergetic pathway, despite the presence of oxygen. This is known as the Warburg effect and leads to disturbance of the mitocytoplasmic energy balance. Cytosolic ATP levels are kept high by the increased glycolysis, limiting the demand for ATP from mitochondria. The restricted ADP-ATP exchange across the mitochondrial membranes results in a high ATP/ADP ratio within the organelles and a high mitochondrial membrane potential. Together, these increase the cancer cell’s resistance to apoptosis. Although the increased glycolysis may enhance the survival of cancer cells, several lines of evidence suggest that mitochondrial activity remains indispensable for proliferation. Specific inhibition of mitochondrial protein synthesis, e.g. with doxycycline, results in a mitonuclear protein imbalance, decreasing the apoptotic threshold and preventing proliferation of various cancer types in vivo. The anti-cancer effects are achieved at serum levels that are present in patients treated with the antibiotic to combat infections. There is good evidence to consider further clinical investigations with doxycycline to substantiate its beneficial effects on cancer.


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