Is the Response of Tumours Dependent on Dietary Input of Some Amino Acids or on the Ratios Among Essential and Non-Essential Amino Acids? All That Glisters is Not Gold
Production of energy is a main task of cancer cells metabolism, since costs of duplicating are enormous. Although energy is derived in cells by dismantling carbon to carbon bonds of any macronutrient, cancer nutritional needs for energetic purposes have been studied primarily as dependent on glycolysis. Since the end of the last century, awareness of dependence of cancer metabolism on amino acids not only for protein syntheses but also for matching energy needs has grown. The roles of specific
... roles of specific amino acids, like glutamine, glycine and serine have been explored in different experimental conditions and reviewed. Moreover, there are epidemiological evidences that some amino acids used as supplement for therapeutic reasons (the branched chain ones) may reduce incidence of liver cancer, and some molecular mechanism has been proposed as functional to their protective action. On the contrary, metabolic signature of some pathology connected with increased risk of cancer, like prolonged hyperinsulinemia in insulin resistant patients, is signed by plasma elevated levels of the same branched chain amino acids, posing puzzling questions to clinicians. Most recently, peculiar formulations of amino acids, deeply different if compared to amino acids compositions normally present in foods, have shown the power to master epigenetics slowing growth or driving cancer cells to apoptotic death, while being even beneficial for normal cells and for animals health and life span. In this review, we will analyze and try to disentangle some of the many knots dealing with complexities of amino acids biology and linked to cancer metabolism.