Current concepts in neuroendocrine cancer metabolism

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Neuroendocrine (NE) cancers occur in multiple anatomic locations and range in prognosis from indolent to aggressive. In addition, adenocarcinomas can express gene products associated with NE cells, referred to as NE differentiation (NED), which correlates with poor prognosis and aggressive disease. Several metabolites and peptides produced by NE cells have been discovered that engage in cellular signaling and have autocrine and paracrine effects on cancer cell proliferation. This review focuses on the current knowledge of small molecule metabolism in NE cancers involving the synthesis of biogenic amine, polyamine, and amino acid neurotransmitters. Systems biology-directed approaches to NE cancer metabolism using gene expression profiling, liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) are also discussed. Furthermore, knowledge of metabolic and signaling pathways in NE cancers has led to the successful implementation of therapeutic regimens in cell culture and animal models of NE carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • Biogenic amine
  • GABA
  • Metabolomics
  • Neuroendocrine cancer metabolism
  • Polyamine
  • Transcriptomics


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