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Molecular Advances in Cancer and Cell Metabolism

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 4048

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Research Center of Biochemistry and Advanced Molecular Biology, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, “Magna Graecia” University of Catanzaro, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy
Interests: cell metabolism; antioxidants; transcription factors; gene expression; cancer metabolism

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Guest Editor
Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University Magna Græcia, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy
Interests: cell metabolism; gene transfer; cell differentiation; signaling pathways; transcription factors
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the years, studies of cellular functions have allowed us to highlight how metabolism can be reprogrammed to support its links to many biological processes ranging from macromolecular synthesis to ATP production; in addition, cells continuously respond to different stimuli, growth factors, hormones, and changes in nutrient uptake by adapting metabolism to new conditions. Accumulating evidence suggests that metabolism can also regulate gene expression and signaling pathways, and its changes have significant impacts on many human diseases as well as recognized conditions associated with cancer.

The cellular metabolic phenotype is determined by the availability of metabolic substrates, oxygen levels, and interactions with the microenvironment where cells can proliferate and differentiate. The reprogramming of energy metabolism is a recognized hallmark of cancer cells that allows adaptation to new conditions of cell growth/survival through the metabolic switch from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis, when the aberrant proliferative capacity of cancer cells increases the energetic demands contributing to the neoplastic transformation.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect the current advances of the metabolic regulation in human normal and tumor cells to better characterize the biochemical mechanism differences associated with tumor metabolic reprogramming. Original articles, short communications, and reviews from physiological and pathological molecular pathways such as those regarding integrative omics techniques are welcome.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Maria Concetta Faniello
Dr. Maria Mesuraca
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • cell metabolism
  • cancer metabolism
  • cancer cell
  • oxidative stress
  • gene expression
  • signaling pathways
  • metabolic regulation
  • tumor growth
  • energy metabolism
  • metabolic phenotype
  • metabolic substrates

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 2331 KiB  
Article
Synergy between PEDF and Doxorubicin in Breast Cancer Cells: Effects on Metastatic and Metabolic Pathways
by Raziyeh Abooshahab, Hani Al-Salami and Crispin R. Dass
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(5), 2755; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25052755 - 27 Feb 2024
Viewed by 895
Abstract
Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), a serine protease inhibitor (Serpin) family member, shows promise in inhibiting tumour growth. In our study, we explored the effects of PEDF on the efficacy of the frontline chemotherapy agent doxorubicin (Dox) in BC cells. We found that Dox+PEDF [...] Read more.
Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), a serine protease inhibitor (Serpin) family member, shows promise in inhibiting tumour growth. In our study, we explored the effects of PEDF on the efficacy of the frontline chemotherapy agent doxorubicin (Dox) in BC cells. We found that Dox+PEDF treatment significantly reduced glucose uptake in MDA-MB-231 cells compared to the control (p = 0.0005), PEDF (p = 0.0137), and Dox (p = 0.0171) alone but paradoxically increased it in MCF-7 cells. Our findings further revealed that PEDF, Dox, and Dox+PEDF substantially hindered tumour cell migration from tumour spheroids, with Dox+PEDF showing the most significant impact (p < 0.0001). We also observed notable decreases in the expression of metastatic markers (uPAR, uPA, CXCR4, MT1-MMP, TNF-α) across all treatment groups (p < 0.0001) in both cell lines. When it comes to metabolic pathways, PEDF increased phosphorylated IRS-1 (p-IRS1) levels in MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 (p < 0.0001), while Dox decreased it, and the combination led to an increase. In MDA-MB-231 cells, treatment with PEDF, Dox, and the combination led to a notable decrease in both phosphorylated AKT (p-AKT) and total AKT levels. In MCF-7, while PEDF, Dox, and their combination led to a reduction in p-AKT, total levels of AKT increased in the presence of Dox and Dox+PEDF. Combining PEDF with Dox enhances the targeting of metastatic and metabolic pathways in breast cancer cell lines. This synergy, marked by PEDF’s increasing roles in cancer control, may pave the way for more effective cancer treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Cancer and Cell Metabolism)
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Review

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23 pages, 1821 KiB  
Review
FOSL1’s Oncogene Roles in Glioma/Glioma Stem Cells and Tumorigenesis: A Comprehensive Review
by Azam Khedri, Shanchun Guo, Vanajothi Ramar, BreAnna Hudson and Mingli Liu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5362; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25105362 - 14 May 2024
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Abstract
This review specifically examines the important function of the oncoprotein FOSL1 in the dimeric AP-1 transcription factor, which consists of FOS-related components. FOSL1 is identified as a crucial controller of invasion and metastatic dissemination, making it a potential target for therapeutic treatment in [...] Read more.
This review specifically examines the important function of the oncoprotein FOSL1 in the dimeric AP-1 transcription factor, which consists of FOS-related components. FOSL1 is identified as a crucial controller of invasion and metastatic dissemination, making it a potential target for therapeutic treatment in cancer patients. The review offers a thorough examination of the regulatory systems that govern the influence exerted on FOSL1. These include a range of changes that occur throughout the process of transcription and after the translation of proteins. We have discovered that several non-coding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), play a significant role in regulating FOSL1 expression by directly interacting with its mRNA transcripts. Moreover, an investigation into the functional aspects of FOSL1 reveals its involvement in apoptosis, proliferation, and migration. This work involves a comprehensive analysis of the complex signaling pathways that support these diverse activities. Furthermore, particular importance is given to the function of FOSL1 in coordinating the activation of several cytokines, such as TGF-beta, and the commencement of IL-6 and VEGF production in tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) that migrate into the tumor microenvironment. There is a specific emphasis on evaluating the predictive consequences linked to FOSL1. Insights are now emerging on the developing roles of FOSL1 in relation to the processes that drive resistance and reliance on specific treatment methods. Targeting FOSL1 has a strong inhibitory effect on the formation and spread of specific types of cancers. Despite extensive endeavors, no drugs targeting AP-1 or FOSL1 for cancer treatment have been approved for clinical use. Hence, it is imperative to implement innovative approaches and conduct additional verifications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Cancer and Cell Metabolism)
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22 pages, 1078 KiB  
Review
Possible Strategies to Reduce the Tumorigenic Risk of Reprogrammed Normal and Cancer Cells
by Ying-Chu Lin, Cha-Chien Ku, Kenly Wuputra, Chung-Jung Liu, Deng-Chyang Wu, Maki Satou, Yukio Mitsui, Shigeo Saito and Kazunari K. Yokoyama
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5177; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25105177 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 499
Abstract
The reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotent stem cells has immense potential for use in regenerating or redeveloping tissues for transplantation, and the future application of this method is one of the most important research topics in regenerative medicine. These cells are generated [...] Read more.
The reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotent stem cells has immense potential for use in regenerating or redeveloping tissues for transplantation, and the future application of this method is one of the most important research topics in regenerative medicine. These cells are generated from normal cells, adult stem cells, or neoplastic cancer cells. They express embryonic stem cell markers, such as OCT4, SOX2, and NANOG, and can differentiate into all tissue types in adults, both in vitro and in vivo. However, tumorigenicity, immunogenicity, and heterogeneity of cell populations may hamper the use of this method in medical therapeutics. The risk of cancer formation is dependent on mutations of these stemness genes during the transformation of pluripotent stem cells to cancer cells and on the alteration of the microenvironments of stem cell niches at genetic and epigenetic levels. Recent reports have shown that the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from human fibroblasts could be induced using chemicals, which is a safe, easy, and clinical-grade manufacturing strategy for modifying the cell fate of human cells required for regeneration therapies. This strategy is one of the future routes for the clinical application of reprogramming therapy. Therefore, this review highlights the recent progress in research focused on decreasing the tumorigenic risk of iPSCs or iPSC-derived organoids and increasing the safety of iPSC cell preparation and their application for therapeutic benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Cancer and Cell Metabolism)
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20 pages, 1923 KiB  
Review
Exploring the Enigma: The Role of the Epithelial Protein Lost in Neoplasm in Normal Physiology and Cancer Pathogenesis
by Emma Lindell and Xiaonan Zhang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(9), 4970; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25094970 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 492
Abstract
The cytoskeleton plays a pivotal role in maintaining the epithelial phenotype and is vital to several hallmark processes of cancer. Over the past decades, researchers have identified the epithelial protein lost in neoplasm (EPLIN, also known as LIMA1) as a key regulator of [...] Read more.
The cytoskeleton plays a pivotal role in maintaining the epithelial phenotype and is vital to several hallmark processes of cancer. Over the past decades, researchers have identified the epithelial protein lost in neoplasm (EPLIN, also known as LIMA1) as a key regulator of cytoskeletal dynamics, cytoskeletal organization, motility, as well as cell growth and metabolism. Dysregulation of EPLIN is implicated in various aspects of cancer progression, such as tumor growth, invasion, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance. Its altered expression levels or activity can disrupt cytoskeletal dynamics, leading to aberrant cell motility and invasiveness characteristic of malignant cells. Moreover, the involvement of EPLIN in cell growth and metabolism underscores its significance in orchestrating key processes essential for cancer cell survival and proliferation. This review provides a comprehensive exploration of the intricate roles of EPLIN across diverse cellular processes in both normal physiology and cancer pathogenesis. Additionally, this review discusses the possibility of EPLIN as a potential target for anticancer therapy in future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Cancer and Cell Metabolism)
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18 pages, 1941 KiB  
Review
A Systematic Review of the Metabolism of High-Grade Gliomas: Current Targeted Therapies and Future Perspectives
by Lucio De Maria, Pier Paolo Panciani, Marco Zeppieri, Tamara Ius, Simona Serioli, Amedeo Piazza, Emanuele Di Giovanni, Marco Maria Fontanella and Edoardo Agosti
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(2), 724; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25020724 - 5 Jan 2024
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Abstract
High-grade glial tumors (HGGs) exhibit aggressive growth patterns and high recurrence rates. The prevailing treatment approach comprises radiation therapy (RT), chemotherapy (CMT), and surgical resection. Despite the progress made in traditional treatments, the outlook for patients with HGGs remains bleak. Tumor metabolism is [...] Read more.
High-grade glial tumors (HGGs) exhibit aggressive growth patterns and high recurrence rates. The prevailing treatment approach comprises radiation therapy (RT), chemotherapy (CMT), and surgical resection. Despite the progress made in traditional treatments, the outlook for patients with HGGs remains bleak. Tumor metabolism is emerging as a potential target for glioma therapies, a promising approach that harnesses the metabolism to target tumor cells. However, the efficacy of therapies targeting the metabolism of HGGs remains unclear, compelling a comprehensive review. This study aimed to assess the outcome of present trials on HGG therapies targeting metabolism. A comprehensive search of PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE, and Ovid EMBASE was conducted until November 2023. The search method used pertinent Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terminologies and keywords referring to “high-grade gliomas”, “metabolism”, “target therapies”, “monoclonal antibodies”, “overall survival”, and “progression-free survival”. The review analyzed studies that focused on therapies targeting the metabolism of HGGs in human subjects. These studies included both randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomized controlled trials (NRCTs). Out of 284 articles identified, 23 trials met the inclusion criteria and were thoroughly analyzed. Phase II trials were the most numerous (62%). Targeted metabolic therapies were predominantly used for recurrent HGGs (67%). The most common targeted pathways were the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF, 43%), the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER, 22%), the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF, 17%), and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR, 17%). In 39% of studies, the subject treatment was combined with CMT (22%), RT (4%), or both (13%). The median OS widely ranged from 4 to 26.3 months, while the median PFS ranged from 1.5 to 13 months. This systematic literature review offers a thorough exploration of the present state of metabolic therapies for HGGs. The multitude of targeted pathways underscores the intricate nature of addressing the metabolic aspects of these tumors. Despite existing challenges, these findings provide valuable insights, guiding future research endeavors. The results serve as a foundation for refining treatment strategies and enhancing patient outcomes within the complex landscape of HGGs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Cancer and Cell Metabolism)
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