Fructose Metabolism in Cancer
The interest in fructose metabolism is based on the observation that an increased dietary fructose consumption leads to an increased risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome. In particular, obesity is a known risk factor to develop many types of cancer and there is clinical and experimental evidence that an increased fructose intake promotes cancer growth. The precise mechanism, however, in which fructose induces tumor growth is still not fully understood. In this article, we present an overview of the metabolic pathways that utilize fructose and how fructose metabolism can sustain cancer cell proliferation. Although the degradation of fructose shares many of the enzymes and metabolic intermediates with glucose metabolism through glycolysis, glucose and fructose are metabolized differently. We describe the different metabolic fates of fructose carbons and how they are connected to lipogenesis and nucleotide synthesis. In addition, we discuss how the endogenous production of fructose from glucose via the polyol pathway can be beneficial for cancer cells.