Activation of the Warburg Effect by Pyruvate Kinase M2 Promotes the Occurrence and Development of Liver Cancer

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Mingyue Zhu, Mengsen Li, Yuli Zhou


Abstract: Liver cancer, which is one of the most common malignancies, has a high incidence and case fatality rate, and is the third most common cause of death attributed to cancer. Warburg effect is a form of modified cell metabolism by which tumor cells obtain energy by glycolysis instead of oxidative phosphorylation, whether in an aerobic or anaerobic environment. It plays an important role in tumor proliferation, growth, invasion, and treatment. Pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2), an essential key enzyme in the glycolytic process, is significantly elevated in multiple tumor tissues and plays a crucial role in the Warburg effect. Recently, increasing attention has been devoted to the mechanism of action of PKM2 in tumors, and interference with the glycolysis pathway is one of the new strategies for cancer treatment. This paper provides a review of the Warburg effect of PKM2 activation and its relationship with tumorigenesis and development and the potential value of Warburg effect in clinical diagnosis, treatment, and prognostic evaluation of liver cancer.


Pyruvate kinase M2, Warburg effect, Hepatocellular carcinoma

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