Bioavailable copper modulates oxidative phosphorylation and growth of tumors
Seiko Ishida PNAS 2013 vol. 110 no. 48 p: 19507–19512
This paper describes the mechanism by which copper mediates the interplay between the two energy-producing pathways, respiration and glycolysis. Many tumors produce increased levels of lactate, even when oxygen abounds, reflecting aerobic glycolysis (“Warburg effect”), whereas most normal tissues solely use respiration. We demonstrate that reducing systemic copper with a chelating drug impaired mitochondrial energy metabolism and decreased ATP levels despite induction of glycolysis. We propose that the metabolic phenotype of tumors is modulated in part by variable levels of copper in tumor microenvironment. Our work identifies copper as a tumor promoter by demonstrating that chronic exposure to elevated levels of copper in drinking water—to the maximum allowed in public water supplies—accelerates tumor growth in mice.
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