Pancreatic Cancer Cell Metabolism Research

Pancreatic Cancer Cell Metabolism Research

The development of safe and effective therapies requires a deeper understanding of cancer cell biology. With effective cell analysis tools and validated experimental methods, Alfa Cytology provides pancreatic cancer (PC) cell metabolism research services to help reveal cancer cell biology as well as the tumor microenvironment from a metabolic perspective.

Unique metabolic features of PC

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by dense and fibrotic stroma and high interstitial pressure due to a prominent desmoplastic stromal reaction. Thus, PDAC tumor cells face hypoxia and nutrient deficiency. Several changes occur as a result of hypoxia: increased glycolysis and increased amino acid (AA) production from protein degradation and glycosylation as well as fatty acid synthesis. As a typical feature of PDAC and hypoxia is related to poor prognosis. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that hypoxia not only increases cancer cell proliferation, survival, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), invasiveness, and metastasis but also resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Despite facing hypoxia and nutritional deficiencies, PDAC cancer cells exhibit extraordinary growth advantages. They survive and thrive on three main types, including,

  • PDAC cells exhibit complex and heterogeneous reprogramming of nutrient intracellular energy metabolism, including glucose, amino acid, and lipid metabolism
  • Improving nutrient access to PDAC through scavenging and recycling has been shown to be applicable
  • Performing metabolic crosstalk with stromal components within the microenvironment

Fig1. The landscape of metabolic pathways in pancreatic cancer cells. (Qin, C., et al., 2020)Fig1. The landscape of metabolic pathways in pancreatic cancer cells. (Qin, C., et al., 2020)

The service offering at Alfa Cytology

Pancreatic cancer cells closeup 3d render illustration.

Our cancer cell metabolism analysis platform relies on advanced technology and specialized personnel to measure cancer cell metabolism and function in real-time. Our service can quantify metabolic function under a variety of conditions to provide accurate physiologically relevant metabolic data, involving mitochondrial function, glycolytic function, metabolic phenotype, and cellular fuel preference. To explore metabolic changes and associated metabolic therapies by measuring bioenergetic metabolism and metabolic conversion of cancer cell proliferation effects to increase the understanding of PC. In addition, we can help detect the tumor microenvironment and help build better tumor models. Explore the metabolic phenotype of cancer cells under different substrate or culture conditions in 2D or 3D cell models and assess how substrate availability regulates metabolic homeostasis.

Benefits of our services:

-Viable cells
-Efficient, simultaneous measurement of two metabolic pathways

Application of our services

Activation of KRAS mutations in PDAC is considered a major driver of carcinogenesis; however, to date, they have been shown to be poorer drug targets. Addressing downstream metabolic alterations to inhibit tumor growth in PDAC may be another useful attempt, including

  • Blocking the glycolytic switch of cancer cells via glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2)
  • Addressing glycolysis via lactate dehydrogenase-A (LDH-A)
  • Blocking lactate transport and efflux
  • Targeting glutamine metabolism
  • Inducing asparagine deprivation with L-asparaginase
  • Targeting lipid metabolism
  • Inhibiting autophagy and macropinocytosis, such as mTOR inhibitors
  • Non-specific OXPHOS inhibitor

Let us know what you are trying to achieve and our team of experts will be in touch with you within one business day to discuss your needs. Contact us right now!


  1. Qin, C., Yang, G., Yang, J., Ren, B., Wang, H., Chen, G., ... & Zhao, Y. (2020). Metabolism of pancreatic cancer: Paving the way to better anticancer strategies. Molecular cancer, 19(1), 1-19.
  2. Cohen, R., Neuzillet, C., Tijeras-Raballand, A., Faivre, S., de Gramont, A., & Raymond, E. (2015). Targeting cancer cell metabolism in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Oncotarget, 6(19), 16832.
  3. Halbrook, C. J., & Lyssiotis, C. A. (2017). Employing metabolism to improve the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer. Cancer cell, 31(1), 5-19.
All of our services are intended for preclinical research use only and cannot be used to diagnose, treat or manage patients.