Targeting mitochondrial metabolism in prostate cancer with triterpenoids

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of malignancy. It implements profound metabolic changes to sustain cancer cell survival and proliferation. Although the Warburg effect is a common feature of metabolic reprogramming, recent studies have revealed that tumor cells also depend on mitochondrial metabolism. Due to the essential role of mitochondria in metabolism and cell survival, targeting mitochondria in cancer cells is an attractive therapeutic strategy. However, the metabolic flexibility of cancer cells may enable the upregulation of compensatory pathways, such as glycolysis, to support cancer cell survival when mitochondrial metabolism is inhibited. Thus, compounds capable of targeting both mitochondrial metabolism and glycolysis may help overcome such resistance mechanisms. Normal prostate epithelial cells have a distinct metabolism as they use glucose to sustain physiological citrate secretion. During the transformation process, prostate cancer cells consume citrate to mainly power oxidative phosphorylation and fuel lipogenesis. A growing number of studies have assessed the impact of triterpenoids on prostate cancer metabolism, under-lining their ability to hit different metabolic targets. In this review, we critically assess the metabolic transformations occurring in prostate cancer cells. We will then address the opportunities and chal-lenges in using triterpenoids as modulators of prostate cancer cell metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2466
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Mitochondrial metabolism
  • Prostate cancer
  • Triterpenoids
  • Warburg effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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