Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive and lethal cancers, with a five-year survival rate of around 5% to 8%. To date, very few available drugs have been successfully used to treat PDAC due to the poor understanding of the tumor-specific features. One of the hallmarks of pancreatic cancer cells is the deregulated cellular energetics characterized by the “Warburg effect”. It has been known for decades that cancer cells have a dramatically increased glycolytic flux even in the presence of oxygen and normal mitochondrial function. Glycolytic flux is the central carbon metabolism process in all cells, which not only produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP) but also provides biomass for anabolic processes that support cell proliferation. Expression levels of glucose transporters and rate-limiting enzymes regulate the rate of glycolytic flux. Intermediates that branch out from glycolysis are responsible for redox homeostasis, glycosylation, and biosynthesis. Beyond enhanced glycolytic flux, pancreatic cancer cells activate nutrient salvage pathways, which includes autophagy and micropinocytosis, from which the generated sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids are used to buffer the stresses induced by nutrient deprivation. Further, PDAC is characterized by extensive metabolic crosstalk between tumor cells and cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME). In this review, we will give an overview on recent progresses made in understanding glucose metabolism-related deregulations in PDAC.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited