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The NADH-fumarate reductase system, a novel mitochondrial energy metabolism, is a new target for anticancer therapy in tumor microenvironments

Authors

  • Eriko Tomitsuka,

    1. Investigative Treatment Division, Research Center for Innovative Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital East, Chiba, Japan
    2. Department of Biomedical Chemistry, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Kiyoshi Kita,

    1. Department of Biomedical Chemistry, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Hiroyasu Esumi

    1. Investigative Treatment Division, Research Center for Innovative Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital East, Chiba, Japan
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Address for correspondence: Eriko Tomitsuka, Investigative Treatment Division, Research Center for Innovative Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital East, 6-5-1 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8577, Japan. etomitsu@east.ncc.go.jp

Abstract

Since deficiencies of critical nutrients and hypoxia are observed in hypovascular tumors, glycolysis alone cannot explain how cancer cells maintain their required energy levels. To study energy metabolism in cancer cells within such tumor microenvironments, we examined the NADH-fumarate reductase system, which is found in anaerobic organisms, such as parasitic helminthes. In human cancer cells cultured under tumor microenvironment-mimicking conditions, mitochondrial NADH-fumarate reductase activity increased in parallel with an increase in fumarate reductase activity, which is the reverse reaction of succinate-ubiquinone reductase and is regulated by the phosphorylation of its subunit. Pyrvinium pamoate, an anthelmintic drug, has an anticancer effect within tumor-mimicking microenvironments. We found that one of the biological mechanisms of pyrvinium is the inhibition of the NADH-fumarate reductase system. Therefore, the NADH-fumarate reductase system might be important for maintaining mitochondrial energy metabolism within the tumor microenvironments and might represent a novel target for anticancer therapies.

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