Targeting nutrient metabolism with FDA-approved drugs for cancer chemoprevention: Drugs and mechanisms

Yifei Xie, Ke Yao, Zigang Dong, Kangdong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Proliferating cancer cells exhibit metabolic alterations and specific nutritional needs for adapting to their rapid growth. These changes include using aerobic glycolysis, lipid metabolic disorder, and irregular protein degradation. It may be useful to target metabolic abnormalities for cancer chemoprevention. Epidemiological and mechanism-related studies have indicated that many FDA-approved anti-metabolic drugs decrease tumor risk, inhibit tumor growth, or enhance the effect of chemotherapeutic drugs. Drugs targeting nutrient metabolism have fewer side effects with long-term use compared to chemotherapeutic drugs. The characteristics of these drugs make them promising candidates for cancer chemoprevention. Here, we summarize recent discoveries of the chemo-preventive effects of drugs targeting nutrient metabolic pathways and discuss future applications and challenges. Understanding the effects and mechanisms of anti-metabolic drugs in cancer has important implications for exploring strategies for cancer chemoprevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Letters
StatePublished - Jul 10 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant number 81872335 ], Natural Science Foundations of Henan [grant number 161100510300 ], and National Science & Technology Major Project “Key New Drug Creation and Manufacturing Program”, China [grant number 2018ZX09711002 ].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Cancer chemoprevention
  • FDA-Approved drugs
  • Nutrient metabolism


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