Spotlight Publication: “Cancer cell metabolic plasticity in migration and metastasis” published in Clinical & Experimental Metastasis
About the author: Jenna Mosier is a current PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering in the Reinhart-King laboratory where she investigates the role of mechanical cues and bioenergetics in breast cancer cell migration. In recently published work, Mosier and Schwager review the current understanding of metabolic plasticity in cancer cell migration and metastasis. Metabolic plasticity refers to the ability of cells to dynamically switch which metabolic pathway they preferentially utilize, such as glycolysis or oxidative phosphorylation in the context of glucose metabolism, depending on environmental and intracellular cues. Mosier and Schwager are one of the first to explore this unique plasticity in the context of cellular ability to navigate their surrounding environment and migrate. Recently, multiple groups have shown using single cell sequencing that cells enriched for glycolysis or oxidative phosphorylation markers are present in primary versus secondary metastatic sites, respectively, indicating that metabolic phenotype may play a significant role in cell function in metastasis and cancer progression. Mosier and Schwager also review how intratumoral heterogeneity and mechanical cues influence cellular metabolic profiles and extrapolate potential avenues for applying these findings in the clinic. Published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Metastasis, the article highlights potential metabolic targets for cancer therapeutics and anti-metastatic treatments and bridges the current gap in understanding how cell metabolic is intrinsically linked to cell migration and cancer metastasis.