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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2015, Article ID 964321, 14 pages
Review Article

Key Roles of Glutamine Pathways in Reprogramming the Cancer Metabolism

1Laboratory of Vision Science and Optometry, Faculty of Physics, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań, Umultowska Street 85, 61-614 Poznań, Poland
2Nanobiomedical Center of Poznań, Umultowska Street 85, 61-614 Poznań, Poland
3Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Chair of Cardiology, Poznań University of Medical Sciences, Długa Street 1/2, 61-848 Poznań, Poland
4Polish Mother’s Memorial Hospital-Research Institute, Outpatient Clinic, Rzgowska Street 281/289, Łódź, Poland

Received 20 March 2015; Revised 7 April 2015; Accepted 8 April 2015

Academic Editor: Claudio Cabello-Verrugio

Copyright © 2015 Krzysztof Piotr Michalak 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.


Glutamine (GLN) is commonly known as an important metabolite used for the growth of cancer cells but the effects of its intake in cancer patients are still not clear. However, GLN is the main substrate for DNA and fatty acid synthesis. On the other hand, it reduces the oxidative stress by glutathione synthesis stimulation, stops the process of cancer cachexia, and nourishes the immunological system and the intestine epithelium, as well. The current paper deals with possible positive effects of GLN supplementation and conditions that should be fulfilled to obtain these effects. The analysis of GLN metabolism suggests that the separation of GLN and carbohydrates in the diet can minimize simultaneous supply of ATP (from glucose) and NADPH2 (from glutamine) to cancer cells. It should support to a larger extent the organism to fight against the cancer rather than the cancer cells. GLN cannot be considered the effective source of ATP for cancers with the impaired oxidative phosphorylation and pyruvate dehydrogenase inhibition. GLN intake restores decreased levels of glutathione in the case of chemotherapy and radiotherapy; thus, it facilitates regeneration processes of the intestine epithelium and immunological system.