Physiological impact of in vivo stable isotope tracing on cancer metabolism - Inserm - Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale Access content directly
Journal Articles Molecular metabolism Year : 2021

Physiological impact of in vivo stable isotope tracing on cancer metabolism


Background: There is growing interest in the analysis of tumor metabolism to identify cancer-specific metabolic vulnerabilities and therapeutic targets. The identification of such candidate metabolic pathways mainly relies on the highly sensitive identification and quantitation of numerous metabolites and metabolic fluxes using metabolomics and isotope tracing analyses. However, nutritional requirements and metabolic routes used by cancer cells cultivated in vitro do not always reflect the metabolic demands of malignant cells within the tumor milieu. Therefore, to be able to understand how the metabolism of a tumor cell in its physiological environment differs from that of normal cells, these analyses must be performed in vivo. Scope of review: This review covers the physiological impact of the exogenous administration of a stable isotope tracer into cancer animal models. We discuss specific aspects of in vivo isotope tracing protocols based on discrete bolus injections of a labeled metabolite: the tracer administration per se and the fasting period prior to tracer administration. In addition, we illustrate the complex physiological scenarios that arise when studying tumor metabolism by isotopic labeling in animal models fed with a diet restricted in a specific amino acid. Finally, we provide strategies to minimize those limitations. Major conclusions: There is a growing evidence that metabolic dependencies in cancers are influenced by tissue environments, cancer lineage, and genetic events. More and more studies are describing discrepancies in tumor metabolic dependencies when studied in in vitro settings or in in vivo models, including cancer patients. Therefore, in depth in vivo profiling of tumor metabolic routes within the appropriate patho-physiological environment will be key to identifying relevant alterations that contribute to cancer onset and progression.
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Dates and versions

inserm-03295402 , version 1 (22-07-2021)



Manuel Grima-Reyes, Adriana Martinez-Turtos, Ifat Abramovich, Eyal Gottlieb, Johanna Chiche, et al.. Physiological impact of in vivo stable isotope tracing on cancer metabolism. Molecular metabolism, 2021, pp.101294. ⟨10.1016/j.molmet.2021.101294⟩. ⟨inserm-03295402⟩
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