The Role of Mitochondrial Electron Transport in Tumorigenesis and Metastasis
The role of electron transport in metastasis (formation of secondary tumors) and tumorigenesis (the creation of cancer cells) is poorly understood. This review collects evidence to suggest that there exists a bioenergetic landscape (bell curve) for malignancy in tumors, which must optimise glycolysis versus oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) as a means of energy production. Glycolysis is an anaerobic respiration pathway, which produces less energy than mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, but produces many reactive oxygen species and activates malignancy pathways. On the other hand, OXPHOS correlates with more differentiated tumor cells but also anchorage independent cell growth (anoikis resistance) and metastatic potential. This highlights the need for a cancer cell to balance OXPHOS and glycolytic energy production.