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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 205357, 14 pages
Review Article

Potential Role of Sugar Transporters in Cancer and Their Relationship with Anticancer Therapy

1Biomedical Research Institute, A Coruña University Hospital, As Xubias 84, 15006 A Coruña, Spain
2Clinical Oncology Department, Ramón y Cajal University Hospital, Ctra. de Colmenar Viejo Km. 9,100, 28034 Madrid, Spain
3Clinical Oncology Department, A Coruña University Hospital, As Xubias 84, 15006 A Coruña, Spain
4Medicine Department, University of A Coruña, Oza s/n, 15006 A Coruña, Spain

Received 13 April 2010; Accepted 20 June 2010

Academic Editor: Z. Naor

Copyright © 2010 Moisés Blanco Calvo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sugars, primarily glucose and fructose, are the main energy source of cells. Because of their hydrophilic nature, cells use a number of transporter proteins to introduce sugars through their plasma membrane. Cancer cells are well known to display an enhanced sugar uptake and consumption. In fact, sugar transporters are deregulated in cancer cells so they incorporate higher amounts of sugar than normal cells. In this paper, we compile the most significant data available about biochemical and biological properties of sugar transporters in normal tissues and we review the available information about sugar carrier expression in different types of cancer. Moreover, we describe the possible pharmacological interactions between drugs currently used in anticancer therapy and the expression or function of facilitative sugar transporters. Finally, we also go into the insights about the future design of drugs targeted against sugar utilization in cancer cells.