Manipulation of Glucose and Hydroperoxide Metabolism to Improve Radiation Response

John M. Floberg, Julie K. Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Dysregulated glucose and redox metabolism are near universal features of cancers. They therefore represent potential selectively toxic metabolic targets. This review outlines the preclinical and clinical data for targeting glucose and hydroperoxide metabolism in cancer, with a focus on drug strategies that have the most available evidence. In particular, inhibition of glycolysis using 2-deoxyglucose, and inhibition of redox metabolism using the glutathione pathway inhibitor buthionine sulfoximine and the thioredoxin pathway inhibitor auranofin, have shown promise in preclinical studies to increase sensitivity to chemotherapy and radiation by increasing intracellular oxidative stress. Combined inhibition of glycolysis, glutathione, and thioredoxin pathways sensitizes highly glycolytic, radioresistant cancer models in vitro and in vivo. Although the preclinical data support this approach, clinical data are limited to exploratory trials using a single drug in combination with either chemotherapy or radiation. Open research questions include optimizing drug strategies for targeting glycolysis and redox metabolism, determining the appropriate timing for administering this therapy with concurrent chemotherapy and radiation, and identifying biomarkers to determine the cancers that would benefit most from this approach. Given the quality of preclinical evidence, dual targeting of glycolysis and redox metabolism in combination with chemotherapy and radiation should be further evaluated in clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Radiation Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


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