Thyroid cancer (TC) is the most frequent endocrine tumor with a growing incidence worldwide. Besides the improvement of diagnosis, TC increasing incidence is probably due to environmental factors and lifestyle modifications. The actual diagnostic criteria for TC classification are based on fine needle biopsy (FNAB) and histological examination following thyroidectomy. Since in some cases it is not possible to make a proper diagnosis, classical approach needs to be supported by additional biomarkers. Recently, new emphasis has been given to the altered cellular metabolism of proliferating cancer cells which require high amount of glucose for energy production and macromolecules biosynthesis. Also TC displays alteration of energy metabolism orchestrated by oncogenes activation and tumor suppressors inactivation leading to abnormal proliferation. Furthermore, TC shows significant metabolic heterogeneity within the tumor microenvironment and metabolic coupling between cancer and stromal cells. In this review we focus on the current knowledge of metabolic alterations of TC and speculate that targeting TC metabolism may improve current therapeutic protocols for poorly differentiated TC. Future studies will further deepen the actual understandings of the metabolic phenotype of TC cells and will give the chance to provide novel prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets in tumors with a more aggressive behavior.
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