Metabolic Potential of Cancer Cells in Context of the Metastatic Cascade

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The metastatic cascade is a highly plastic and dynamic process dominated by cellular heterogeneity and varying metabolic requirements. During this cascade, the three major metabolic pillars, namely biosynthesis, RedOx balance, and bioenergetics, have variable importance. Biosynthesis has superior significance during the proliferation-dominated steps of primary tumour growth and secondary macrometastasis formation and only minor relevance during the growth-independent processes of invasion and dissemination. Consequently, RedOx homeostasis and bioenergetics emerge as conceivable metabolic key determinants in cancer cells that disseminate from the primary tumour. Within this review, we summarise our current understanding on how cancer cells adjust their metabolism in the context of different microenvironments along the metastatic cascade. With the example of one-carbon metabolism, we establish a conceptual view on how the same metabolic pathway can be exploited in different ways depending on the current cellular needs during metastatic progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2027
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2020


  • ROS
  • RedOx balance
  • bioenergetics
  • biosynthesis
  • cancer metabolism
  • hypoxia
  • metabolic plasticity
  • metastasis
  • one-carbon metabolism
  • tumour microenvironment


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