Glioblastoma is a primary malignant brain tumor with a median survival under 2 years. The poor prognosis glioblastoma caries is largely due to cellular invasion, which enables escape from resection, and drives inevitable recurrence. While most studies to date have focused on pathways that enhance the invasiveness of tumor cells in the brain microenvironment as the primary driving forces behind GBM’s ability to invade adjacent tissues, more recent studies have identified a role for adaptations in cellular metabolism in GBM invasion. Metabolic reprogramming allows invasive cells to generate the energy necessary for colonizing surrounding brain tissue and adapt to new microenvironments with unique nutrient and oxygen availability. Historically, enhanced glycolysis, even in the presence of oxygen (the Warburg effect) has dominated glioblastoma research with respect to tumor metabolism. More recent global profiling experiments, however, have identified roles for lipid, amino acid, and nucleotide metabolism in tumor growth and invasion. A thorough understanding of the metabolic traits that define invasive GBM cells may provide novel therapeutic targets for this devastating disease. In this review, we focus on metabolic alterations that have been characterized in glioblastoma, the dynamic nature of tumor metabolism and how it is shaped by interaction with the brain microenvironment, and how metabolic reprogramming generates vulnerabilities that may be ripe for exploitation.
Copyright © 2021 Garcia, Jain and Aghi.