Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Department of


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Stanke KM, Wilson C and Kidambi S (2021) High Expression of Glycolytic Genes in Clinical Glioblastoma Patients Correlates With Lower Survival. Front. Mol. Biosci. 8:752404. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2021.752404


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Glioblastoma (GBM), the most aggressive brain tumor, is associated with a median survival at diagnosis of 16–20 months and limited treatment options. The key hallmark of GBM is altered tumor metabolism and marked increase in the rate of glycolysis. Aerobic glycolysis along with elevated glucose consumption and lactate production supports rapid cell proliferation and GBM growth. In this study, we examined the gene expression profile of metabolic targets in GBM samples from patients with lower grade glioma (LGG) and GBM. We found that gene expression of glycolytic enzymes is up-regulated in GBM samples and significantly associated with an elevated risk for developing GBM. Our findings of clinical outcomes showed that GBM patients with high expression of HK2 and PKM2 in the glycolysis related genes and low expression of genes involved in mitochondrial metabolism-SDHB and COX5A related to tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), respectively, was associated with poor patient overall survival. Surprisingly, expression levels of genes involved in mitochondrial oxidative metabolism are markedly increased in GBM compared to LGG but was lower compared to normal brain. The fact that in GBM the expression levels of TCA cycle and OXPHOS-related genes are higher than those in LGG patients suggests the metabolic shift in GBM cells when progressing from LGG to GBM. These results are an important step forward in our understanding of the role of metabolic reprogramming in glioma as drivers of the tumor and could be potential prognostic targets in GBM therapies.