Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Kunming Medical University, Kunming 650051, Yunnan, People’s Republic of China.
Re-programming of metabolic pathways is a hallmark of pathological changes in cancer cells. The expression of certain genes that directly control the rate of key metabolic pathways including glycolysis, lipogenesis and nucleotide synthesis is dysregulated for the adaptation and progression of tumor cells to become more aggressive phenotypes. The pentose phosphate pathway controlled by glucose- 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) has been appreciated largely to its role as a provider of reducing power and ribose phosphate to the cell for maintenance of redox balance and biosynthesis of nucleotides and lipids. Recently, G6PD has been revealed to be involved in apoptosis, angiogenesis, and the efficacy to anti-cancer therapy, making it as a promising target in cancer therapy. This review summarizes the information about the latest progress relating the activity of the G6PD to cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and resistance to therapy in cancer cells, and discusses the possibility of G6PD as a diagnostic biomarker of cancer and the therapeutic potentials of G6PD inhibitors in cancer treatment. The available data show that G6PD plays a critical role in survival, proliferation, and metastasis of cancer cells. Development of potent and selective G6PD inhibitors would provide novel opportunity for cancer therapy.