About this Research Topic
Cancer cells need a supply of excess energy and metabolites/nutrients to proliferate at a high rate and metastasise. Colonisation and survival in different organs require cancer cells to acquire metabolic plasticity in order to adapt in changing environmental conditions. For example, tumour initiating/cancer stem cells shift their energy production from glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation. Activity of cellular metabolic pathways depends on the substrate exchange between cancer cells and their environment as well as between the cytoplasm and the mitochondria. This exchange occurs through metabolite/nutrient transporters expressed in the plasma membrane and mitochondrial membrane of cancer cells and cancer-associated stromal cells. Not surprisingly, metastatic disease is accompanied by large changes in the expression of metabolite/nutrient transporters resulting in significant alterations in mitochondrial and cytosolic metabolic pathways. These changes impact on metabolite profiles of blood, urine and tissues which could be exploited for cancer diagnosis and also to monitor patient’s response to cancer treatment.
The objective of this Research Topic is to review the available data on the changes that occur at the metabolite/nutrient transporter level in the plasma membrane and mitochondria in progression and metastasis of cancer. This includes changes in expression, activity, trafficking, structure and the transport direction in cancer cells and cancer-associated stromal cells as well as the mechanisms responsible for such changes. In particular, we would like contributions that assess the role of these transporters in cellular metabolism, tumor-cell plasticity, cancer stem cells, cell proliferation, invasion and metastasis. We would also like to summarize the available reports on the molecular mechanisms involved in these phenomena, including mutations with functional consequences, copy number variations, and regulation by oncogenes and tumor suppressors. As metabolite/nutrient transporters also have potential for drug delivery as well as drug targets for cancer treatment, the Research Topic will also cover areas related to the pharmacological and therapeutic aspects of these transporters.
In this research topic we would like to welcome Original Research, Review and Mini-Review articles focusing on:
• Changes in plasma membrane, mitochondrial transporter expression and functionality in cancer cells and cancer-associated stromal cells.
• The role of the above transporters in cellular events related to cell proliferation, invasion and metastasis including processes such as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, amoeboid movement and the mesenchyme-epithelial transition.
• The role of the above transporters in the regulation of tumor-initiating/cancer stem cell status.
• Interactions and interdependence between plasma membrane and mitochondrial transporters in connection to metabolism in cancer cells and cancer-associated stromal cells.
• Changes in the trafficking, structure and activity of transporters in cancer.
• Use of metabolite/nutrient transporters in diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Keywords: Transporters, Metabolism, Mitochondria, Plasma Membrane, Cancer
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.