Regulation of Glycolysis by Non-coding RNAs in Cancer: Switching on the Warburg Effect

Hamed Mirzaei, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


The “Warburg effect” describes the reprogramming of glucose metabolism away from oxidative phosphorylation toward aerobic glycolysis, and it is one of the hallmarks of cancer cells. Several factors can be involved in this process, but in this review, the roles of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are highlighted in several types of human cancer. ncRNAs, including microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and circular RNAs, can all affect metabolic enzymes and transcription factors to promote glycolysis and modulate glucose metabolism to enhance the progression of tumors. In particular, the 5′-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways are associated with alterations in ncRNAs. A better understanding of the roles of ncRNAs in the Warburg effect could ultimately lead to new therapeutic approaches for suppressing cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-239
Number of pages22
JournalMolecular Therapy - Oncolytics
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2020


  • Warburg effect
  • cancer
  • glycolysis
  • non-coding RNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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