Date of Award

Spring 2017


Capstone - Open Access


Biochemistry, Minors in Physics & Science-and-Religion

First Advisor

Josephine Modica-Napolitano


Despite decades of intensive scientific and medical efforts to develop efficient and effective treatments for cancer, it remains one of the prime causes of death today. For example, in 2016, there will be an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer and 595,690 deaths due to cancer in the United States alone (National Cancer Institute). Worldwide in 2012, there were an estimated 14 million new cases of cancer and 8.2 million deaths due to cancer. In order to come up with better methods of detection and more successful modes of treatment, it is crucial that scientists understand the depth of not only what causes cancer but also what sustains it. This literature review examines cancer as a metabolic disease. More specifically, it summarizes carbohydrate metabolism and compares and contrasts the roles of the glucose transporter, the metabolic enzymes hexokinase, pyruvate kinase, citrate synthase, succinate dehydrogenase, cytochrome c oxidase, ATP synthase, and the tumor suppressor protein p53 in normal versus cancer cells. The review focuses on the altered cellular function of these molecules and the significance of their dysfunctionality in the transformation of normal to cancer cells.