Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase: A Promising Target for Molecular Therapy in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Shanmugasundaram Ganapathy-Kanniappan, Rani Kunjithapatham and Jean-Francois Geschwind _

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Oncotarget. 2012; 3:940-953. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.623

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Shanmugasundaram Ganapathy-Kanniappan1, Rani Kunjithapatham1, Jean-Francois Geschwind1

1 Department of Radiology & Radiological Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA


Jean-Francois Geschwind, email:

Keywords: 3-bromopyruvate, GAPDH, Glycolysis, HCC, Iodoacetate, Koningic acid, Methylglyoxal, Saframycin A

Received: August 15, 2012, Accepted: September 06, 2012, Published: September 07, 2012


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most highly lethal malignancies ranking as the third leading-cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Although surgical resection and transplantation are effective curative therapies, very few patients qualify for such treatments due to the advanced stage of the disease at diagnosis. In this context, loco-regional therapies provide a viable therapeutic alternative with minimal systemic toxicity. However, as chemoresistance and tumor recurrence negatively impact the success of therapy resulting in poorer patient outcomes it is imperative to identify new molecular target(s) in cancer cells that could be effectively targeted by novel agents. Recent research has demonstrated that proliferation in HCC is associated with increased glucose metabolism. The glycolytic enzyme, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), a multifunctional protein primarily recognized for its role in glucose metabolism, has already been shown to affect the proliferative potential of cancer cells. In human HCC, the increased expression of GAPDH is invariably associated with enhanced glycolytic capacity facilitating tumor progression. Though it is not yet known whether GAPDH up-regulation contributes to tumorigenesis sensu stricto, emerging evidence points to the existence of a link between GAPDH up-regulation and the promotion of survival mechanisms in cancer cells as well as chemoresistance. The involvement of GAPDH in several hepatocarcinogenic mechanisms (e.g. viral hepatitis, metabolic alterations) and its sensitivity to a new class of prospective anticancer agents prompted us to review the current understanding of the therapeutic potential of targeting GAPDH in HCC.

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