Treating Pancreatic Cancer: Could Metabolism—Not Genomics—Be the Key?

April 2, 2024 article in Cancer Commons.

Thomas Seyfried and his colleagues at Boston College are known for their stance on cancer being a metabolic disease, rather than a genetic one. Despite the expansion of the field of cancer genomics, Seyfried maintains that the metabolic view offers a better explanation for the cause, and better solutions for the treatment of cancers.

“In contrast to the somatic mutation theory, the mitochondrial metabolic theory can better explain the origin of cancer and provide more rational therapeutic strategies for management. For example, KRAS mutations negatively impact oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos), thus forcing tumors to be more dependent on aerobic fermentation than on OxPhos for driving dysregulated growth. OxPhos inefficiency coupled to energy synthesis through aerobic glucose and glutamine-dependent fermentation is now recognized in nearly all cancers. Unfortunately, the metabolic dependencies of cancer cells are just an afterthought, if considered at all.