(HealthDay News) – An enzyme that balances the use of glucose for energy generation with the synthesis of antioxidants is important for the growth and survival of prostate cancer, according to a study published online March 22 in Cancer Discovery.

Susana Ros, from Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, and colleagues examined the effect on survival of silencing the genes for 222 metabolic enzymes, transporters, and regulators in three metastatic prostate cancer cell lines compared with a nonmalignant prostate epithelial cell line.

The researchers identified several genes required for survival. One important gene in prostate cancer survival was the glycolytic enzyme 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 4 (PFKFB4), which was required to maintain cellular redox balance. The expression of PFKFB4 messenger RNA was higher in metastatic prostate cancer than primary tumors. Depleting the expression of the gene in mice with prostate tumors inhibited tumor growth.

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“Using an unbiased functional screen, we found that the glycolytic enzyme PFKFB4 is essential for prostate cancer cell survival by maintaining the balance between the use of glucose for energy generation and the synthesis of antioxidants,” Ros and colleagues conclude. “Targeting PFKFB4 may therefore present new therapeutic opportunities.”

One of the authors disclosed a financial tie to AstraZeneca.


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