Systems biology to identify biomarkers of cancer metabolism – the GAGome

Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of cancer. Cancer cells need to rewire the way they procure energy and nutrients to support abnormal proliferation and growth in their tissue of origin. Yet, metabolism is an under-investigated layer of information to identify biomarkers for cancer.

Metabolism is a complex system consisting of >3’000 metabolites connected in a network of >8000 reactions. Our research originates from a systems biology approach pioneered in Jens Nielsen lab at Chalmers University of Technology. We overlay genome-wide omics data onto the largest reconstruction of the human metabolic network to highlight regulatory hotspots in cancer metabolism (Nielsen, 2017).  

This global and unbiased approach identified the profile of human glycosaminoglycans – so-called GAGome – as the most deregulated panel of metabolites in cancer (Gatto et al., 2014, Gatto et al., 2016).


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