3-Bromopyruvate 1

© 2013

Targeting aerobic glycolysis: 3-bromopyruvate as a promising anticancer drug

            (Cardaci, Desideri et al. 2012) Download

The Warburg effect refers to the phenomenon whereby cancer cells avidly take up glucose and produce lactic acid under aerobic conditions. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying tumor reliance on glycolysis remains not completely clear, its inhibition opens feasible therapeutic windows for cancer treatment. Indeed, several small molecules have emerged by combinatorial studies exhibiting promising anticancer activity both in vitro and in vivo, as a single agent or in combination with other therapeutic modalities. Therefore, besides reviewing the alterations of glycolysis that occur with malignant transformation, this manuscript aims at recapitulating the most effective pharmacological therapeutics of its targeting. In particular, we describe the principal mechanisms of action and the main targets of 3-bromopyruvate, an alkylating agent with impressive antitumor effects in several models of animal tumors. Moreover, we discuss the chemo-potentiating strategies that would make unparalleled the putative therapeutic efficacy of its use in clinical settings.

A translational study "case report" on the small molecule "energy blocker" 3-bromopyruvate (3BP) as a potent anticancer agent: from bench side to bedside

            (Ko, Verhoeven et al. 2012) Download

The small alkylating molecule, 3-bromopyruvate (3BP), is a potent and specific anticancer agent. 3BP is different in its action from most currently available chemo-drugs. Thus, 3BP targets cancer cells' energy metabolism, both its high glycolysis ("Warburg Effect") and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. This inhibits/ blocks total energy production leading to a depletion of energy reserves. Moreover, 3BP as an "Energy Blocker", is very rapid in killing such cells. This is in sharp contrast to most commonly used anticancer agents that usually take longer to show a noticeable effect. In addition, 3BP at its effective concentrations that kill cancer cells has little or no effect on normal cells. Therefore, 3BP can be considered a member, perhaps one of the first, of a new class of anticancer agents. Following 3BP's discovery as a novel anticancer agent in vitro in the Year 2000 (Published in Ko et al. Can Lett 173:83-91, 2001), and also as a highly effective and rapid anticancer agent in vivo shortly thereafter (Ko et al. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 324:269-275, 2004), its efficacy as a potent anticancer agent in humans was demonstrated. Here, based on translational research, we report results of a case study in a young adult cancer patient with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma. Thus, a bench side discovery in the Department of Biological Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine was taken effectively to bedside treatment at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt/Main Hospital, Germany. The results obtained hold promise for 3BP as a future cancer therapeutic without apparent cyto-toxicity when formulated properly.

3-Bromopyruvate (3BP) a fast acting, promising, powerful, specific, and effective "small molecule" anti-cancer agent taken from labside to bedside: introduction to a special issue

            (Pedersen 2012) Download

Although the "Warburg effect", i.e., elevated glucose metabolism to lactic acid (glycolysis) even in the presence of oxygen, has been recognized as the most common biochemical phenotype of cancer for over 80 years, its biochemical and genetic basis remained unknown for over 50 years. Work focused on elucidating the underlying mechanism(s) of the "Warburg effect" commenced in the author's laboratory in 1969. By 1985 among the novel findings made two related most directly to the basis of the "Warburg effect", the first that the mitochondrial content of tumors exhibiting this phenotype is markedly decreased relative to the tissue of origin, and the second that such mitochondria have markedly elevated amounts of the enzyme hexokinase-2 (HK2) bound to their outer membrane. HK2 is the first of a number of enzymes in cancer cells involved in metabolizing the sugar glucose to lactic acid. At its mitochondrial location HK2 binds at/near the protein VDAC (voltage dependent anion channel), escapes inhibition by its product glucose-6-phosphate, and gains access to mitochondrial produced ATP. As shown by others, it also helps immortalize cancer cells, i.e., prevents cell death. Based on these studies, the author's laboratory commenced experiments to elucidate the gene basis for the overexpression of HK2 in cancer. These studies led to both the discovery of a unique HK2 promoter region markedly activated by both hypoxic conditions and moderately activated by several metabolites (e.g., glucose), Also discovered was the promoter's regulation by epigenetic events (i.e., methylation, demethylation). Finally, the author's laboratory turned to the most important objective. Could they selectively and completely destroy cancerous tumors in animals? This led to the discovery in an experiment conceived, designed, and conducted by Young Ko that the small molecule 3-bromopyruvate (3BP), the subject of this mini-review series, is an incredibly powerful and swift acting anticancer agent. Significantly, in subsequent experiments with rodents (19 animals with advanced cancer) Ko led a project in which 3BP was shown in a short treatment period to eradicate all (100%). Ko's and co-author's findings once published attracted global attention leading world-wide to many other studies and publications related to 3BP and its potent anti-cancer effect. This Issue of the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes (JOBB 44-1) captures only a sampling of research conducted to date on 3BP as an anticancer agent, and includes also a Case Report on the first human patient known to the author to be treated with specially formulated 3BP. Suffice it to say in this bottom line, "3BP, a small molecule, results in a remarkable therapeutic effect when it comes to treating cancers exhibiting a "Warburg effect". This includes most cancer types.


References

Cardaci, S., E. Desideri, et al. (2012). "Targeting aerobic glycolysis: 3-bromopyruvate as a promising anticancer drug." J Bioenerg Biomembr 44(1): 17-29 PMID: 22328057

Ko, Y. H., H. A. Verhoeven, et al. (2012). "A translational study "case report" on the small molecule "energy blocker" 3-bromopyruvate (3BP) as a potent anticancer agent: from bench side to bedside." J Bioenerg Biomembr 44(1): 163-70 PMID: 22328020

Pedersen, P. L. (2012). "3-Bromopyruvate (3BP) a fast acting, promising, powerful, specific, and effective "small molecule" anti-cancer agent taken from labside to bedside: introduction to a special issue." J Bioenerg Biomembr 44(1): 1-6 PMID: 22382780