Mitochondrial dysfunctions in cancer: Genetic defects and oncogenic signaling impinging on TCA cycle activity

Enrico Desideri, Rolando Vegliante, Maria Rosa Ciriolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle is a central route for oxidative metabolism. Besides being responsible for the production of NADH and FADH2, which fuel the mitochondrial electron transport chain to generate ATP, the TCA cycle is also a robust source of metabolic intermediates required for anabolic reactions. This is particularly important for highly proliferating cells, like tumour cells, which require a continuous supply of precursors for the synthesis of lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. A number of mutations among the TCA cycle enzymes have been discovered and their association with some tumour types has been established. In this review we summarise the current knowledge regarding alterations of the TCA cycle in tumours, with particular attention to the three germline mutations of the enzymes succinate dehydrogenase, fumarate hydratase and isocitrate dehydrogenase, which are involved in the pathogenesis of tumours, and to the aberrant regulation of TCA cycle components that are under the control of oncogenes and tumour suppressors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 28 2015


  • Aconitase
  • Fumarate hydratase
  • HIF
  • Isocitrate dehydrogenase
  • P53
  • Succinate dehydrogenase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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