The Circadian Clock’s Role in Cancer and Metabolism
Circadian Clock and Cancer Metabolism. From the December 2015 issue of Cell Metabolism, Altman et al. Artwork by Lili Guo.
Circadian rhythms in mammals are 24-hour cycles that govern gene regulation and cellular metabolism. While many cancers have altered or disrupted circadian rhythms, there is little understanding of the implications of this disruption on cancer cell metabolism, tumor cell growth, and prognosis. We have previously shown that the MYC oncogene, commonly overexpressed in many human cancers, disrupts circadian rhythm and metabolic oscillations, which may provide a growth advantage to the cancer cell.
Our research focuses on identifying the intersections between circadian rhythm, cancer cell physiology, and metabolism. We utilize diverse cell line models of cancer and mouse MYC-driven lung cancer to focus on amplified MYC, the extended MYC family of related proteins, and nutrient input and metabolic stress signaling in circadian rhythm control. Better understanding of how tumors and metabolic input modulate the clock and the circadian metabolic cycle could aid in developing novel treatment strategies to time increased efficacy and reduced toxicity.