Nutrient utilization is dramatically altered when cells receive signals to proliferate. Characteristic metabolic changes enable cells to meet the large biosynthetic demands associated with cell growth and division. Changes in rate-limiting glycolytic enzymes redirect metabolism to support growth and proliferation. Metabolic reprogramming in cancer is controlled largely by oncogenic activation of signal transduction pathways and transcription factors. Although less well understood, epigenetic mechanisms may seem to contribute to the regulation of metabolic gene expression in cancer. Reciprocally, accumulating evidence suggests that metabolic alterations may affect the epigenome. Understanding the relation between metabolism and epigenetics in cancer cells may open new avenues for anti-cancer strategies.
In multi-cellular systems, molecular signals promoting cell growth and proliferation mediate the switch between catabolism and anabolism. Both normal proliferating and cancer cells must achieve high levels of macromolecular biosynthesis to provide the raw materials needed to produce new daughter cells. From a therapeutic view point, it is of great interest to determine metabolic differences that exist between normal proliferating cells and cancer cells. Cancer cells also exhibit significant alterations in the epigenome. Recent data indicate that cellular metabolism and epigenetic phenomenon are engaged in crosstalk [1, 2]. Considering current efforts to target both cancer metabolism and epigenetics, an understanding of the relationship between these two key features is of paramount importance [3, 4]. Here we discuss the role of cellular metabolism in regulation of the epigenome. Moreover, we discuss how epigenetic changes may contribute to establish cancer-specific metabolic features.