The importance of mitochondria in the tumourigenic phenotype: Gliomas as the paradigm (Review)
- Bertrand C. Liang
- Martin Grootveld
Published online on: December 6, 2010
Cancer arises from the accumulation of nuclear and cytoplasmic abnormalities, a phenomenon allowing for the expression of the tumourigenic phenotype. Gliomas represent the most frequently diagnosed tumours of the central nervous system in adults. Warburg hypothesized the importance of glycolysis in cancer cells, and implicated additional roles of mitochondria in neoplasia. Recent data have shown the importance of mitochondria in the tumourigenic phenotype, in particular, within the apoptotic process. There have been a variety of studies conducted on brain tumours revealing significant alterations of mitochondria within the tumourigenic phenotype. This review describes some of the more recent findings of mitochondria and gliomas, correlating findings to those observed in other cancers. Alterations in mitochondrial DNA copy number and location, as well as dependence of the cancer cell phenotype on mitochondria are emphasised. In addition to its role in apoptosis, the mitochondrion serves as an important element in the tumourigenic phenotype, and clinical approaches targeting this organelle have potential for the development of effective treatment regimens for patients with glioma and other neoplastic diseases.