'We can only cure what we can understand first', said Otto H. Warburg, the 1931 Nobel laureate for his discovery on tumor metabolism. Unfortunately, we still don't know too much the mechanisms underlying of cancer development and progression. One of the unsolved mystery includes the strategies that cancer cells adopt to cope with an adverse microenvironment. However, we knew, from the Warburg's discovery, that through their metabolism based on sugar fermentation, cancer cells acidify their microenvironment and this progressive acidification induces a selective pressure, leading to development of very malignant cells entirely armed to survive in the hostile microenvironment generated by their own metabolism. One of the most mechanism to survive to the acidic tumor microenvironment are proton exchangers not allowing intracellular acidification through a continuous elimination of H+ either outside the cells or within the internal vacuoles. This article wants to comment a translational process through which from the preclinical demonstration that a class of proton pump inhibitors (PPI) exploited worldwide for peptic ulcer treatment and gastroprotection are indeed chemosensitizers as well, we have got to the clinical proof of concept that PPI may well be included in new anti-cancer strategies, and with a solid background and rationale.
Fais, S. (2015, November 24). Evidence-based support for the use of proton pump inhibitors in cancer therapy. Journal of Translational Medicine. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-015-0735-2