Copper Fuels Cancer Cells

Copper Fuels Cancer Cells

Author: Melania Tesio

Numerous pathological conditions, such as cancer, are associated to imbalanced levels of copper, a trace element essential for the activity of many metalloenzymes. Seiko Ishida, Interfaculty Institute for Bioengineering, Switzerland, and colleagues investigated the role of copper availability during tumor progression, revealing that this metal is an important nutrient for tumors.

The researchers demonstrated that copper stimulates cancer cell proliferation as it provides them with increased levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), namely the metabolic energy needed by cancer cells to divide. This phenomenon is due to the fact that copper forms the catalytic core of the cytochrome oxidase C, an enzyme crucial for ATP production. As a consequence, the pharmacological suppression of copper through the chelating drug tetrathiomolybdate, reduced cytochrome oxidase C activity, ultimately decreasing tumor growth in cancer-bearing mice.

Targeting copper may thus represent a novel strategy to fight tumors.


  1. Aurelian Udristioiu

    The Book: ” Hematological and Metabolic Aspects from Laboratory Medicine”, Authors: Aurelian Udristioiu, Manole Cojocaru, Radu Iliescu Date published: 11 / 2011, p.109ISBN-13: 9783847307754 ISBN: 3847307754 Language: English Please see the Blog: Conc. ATP in B cells Normal value : x¯= 0.35 micro-mol ATP In CLL x¯= 4.33 micro-mol ATP (SD =0.41) Conc. ATP in T cells Normal value = x¯= 1.39 micro-mol ATP In CLL x¯=0.09 micro-mol ATP Table1. The concentrations (μM APT ) in malignant cells contented in 106 lymphocytes / ml from peripheral


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