'Feed a cold, starve a tumor' – glucose deprivation as a therapy for TSC-related tumors

Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant disorder, caused by mutation
in one of the tumor-suppressor genes, TSC1 or TSC2. The condition is characterized by the
formation of multiple non-malignant tumours throughout the brain and other
vital organs of the body, and is prevalent in nearly one million
people worldwide, with symptoms ranging from mild skin abnormalities to
uncontrollable seizures and kidney failure.

In the latest research published in Cell &
, Jiang et al. demonstrate
that the growth and cell proliferation of TSC-related tumors can be inhibited by 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG),
which restricts glucose metabolism. In stark contrast,
a “carb-free” diet fails to prove effective in reducing tumor growth and leads
to increased tumor size.

and Blenis
, in a commentary published in BMC
, discuss these new findings and their therapeutic potential:

Cancer therapy is increasingly shifting
toward individualized therapeutic approaches based on the genetic abnormalities
exhibited by transformed cells. Jiang et
al. demonstrate that targeting glucose addiction is an effective
approach for decreasing the growth of tumors driven by TSC mutations. Thus
glucose addiction may prove to be the ‘Achilles’ heel’ for the treatment of

This research raises questions as to the potential use of 2-DG in
treating TSC-tumors, in light of whether the toxic effects of 2-DG can be minimised, and moreover whether
this will translate into a therapeutic approach for other tumor types.

Liz Bal

Associate Publisher at BioMed Central
Liz completed an MSci in Biology at Imperial College London, before joining BioMed Central in 2010. Now, as an Associate Publisher in the Biological Sciences team, she is responsible for the development of a portfolio of neuroscience, biotechnology and cell biology journals.
Liz Bal

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