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WIREs Syst Biol Med
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In search for symmetries in the metabolism of cancer

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Even though aerobic glycolysis, or the Warburg effect, is arguably the most common trait of metabolic reprogramming in cancer, it is unobserved in certain tumor types. Systems biology advocates a global view on metabolism to dissect which traits are consistently reprogrammed in cancer, and hence likely to constitute an obligate step for the evolution of cancer cells. We refer to such traits as symmetric. Here, we review early systems biology studies that attempted to reveal symmetric traits in the metabolic reprogramming of cancer, discuss the symmetry of reprogramming of nucleotide metabolism, and outline the current limitations that, if unlocked, could elucidate whether symmetries in cancer metabolism may be claimed. WIREs Syst Biol Med 2016, 8:23–35. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1321 This article is categorized under: Analytical and Computational Methods > Computational Methods Biological Mechanisms > Metabolism Models of Systems Properties and Processes > Organ, Tissue, and Physiological Models
Traits of metabolic reprogramming in cancer deemed symmetric in molecular biology (a) and systems biology (b). 1C, one‐carbon; GSH, glutathione; GSSG, glutathione disulfide; THF, tetrahydrofolate.
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Analytical and Computational Methods > Computational Methods
Models of Systems Properties and Processes > Organ, Tissue, and Physiological Models
Biological Mechanisms > Metabolism

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