The significance of mitochondrial metabolism in cancer cells has recently been gaining attention. Among other findings, One-carbon folate metabolism has been reported to be closely associated with cellular characteristics in cancer. To study molecular targets for efficient cancer therapy, we investigated the association between the expressions of genes that code enzymes involved in one-carbon metabolism and survival rate of patients with adenocarcinomas of the colorectum and lung. Patients with high expression of genes that control the metabolic cycle of tetrahydrofolate (THF) in mitochondria, SHMT2, MTHFD2, and ALDH1L2, have a shorter overall survival rate compared with patients with low expression of these genes. Our results revealed that these genes could be novel and more promising anticancer targets than dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), the current target of drug therapy linked with folate metabolism, suggesting the rationale of drug discovery in cancer medicine.
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