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FI EMS Colloquium

Metabolic regulation of cancer aggressiveness

Paolo Ceppi
University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

  5:00 PM     SR41


The most lethal features of cancer are chemoresistance and metastatic dissemination. In many cases, both are attributed to the presence of cells driven by up-regulation of nucleotide metabolism (NM) and by the de-differentiation process of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which can foster chemoresistance and clinical relapse. Recently, our lab and others showed that some metabolic pathways can exert a powerful regulatory role on cancer cell dedifferentiation and promote cancer aggressiveness by driving NM and EMT. In this talk, I will focus mostly on our recent identification of a mechanism of contact-mediated nucleotide transfer that promotes tumor growth, and on the potential clinical use of metabolites, such as the short chain fatty acid propionate, for opposing EMT and its malignant phenotype in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Our group employs several cell and molecular biology techniques, genetic mouse models, high-throughput approaches, bioinformatics and the analysis of human samples to develop novel metabolism-based therapeutic strategies, which could contribute to reduce the devastating effects of aggressive cancers. 

Selected Reference

  • Gollavilli et al. Oncogene 2021. doi: 10.1038/s41388-021-01708-6 
  • Ramesh et al. Trends in Cancer 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.trecan.2020.06.005 
  • Siddiqui et al. Cell Death and Differentiation 2019. doi: 10.1038/s41418-019-0289-6
  • Ramesh et al. EMBO Molecular Medicine. doi: 10.15252/emmm.202317836 


Paolo Ceppi is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) at the University of Southern Denmark since summer 2019. He received his PhD from the University of Torino in 2011, followed by a postdoctoral appointment in the laboratory of Prof. Marcus Peter at the R.H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Northwestern University in Chicago. In 2015 he was appointed as a Junior Group Leader at the Interdisciplinary Center of Clinical Research (IZKF) of the FAU University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany. In 2017 he was awarded the Young Investigator Award from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC). His research has been funded by the Department of Defense (in US), the German Cancer Aid and the German Research Foundation (in Germany), the Danish Independent Research Fund, the Novo Nordisk Foundation (2021 Hallas-Møller Ascending Investigator Grant), the Danish Cancer Society and the Insurance "Danmark".