Understanding how cancer cells survive harsh environmental conditions may be fundamental to eradicating malignancies proven to be impervious to treatment. Nutrient and growth factor deprivation, hypoxia, and low pH create metabolic demands that require cellular adaptations to sustain energy levels. Protein synthesis is one of the most notable consumers of energy. Mounting evidence implicates exquisite control of protein synthesis as a survival mechanism for both normal and malignant cells. In this commentary, we discuss the role of protein synthesis in energy conservation in cancer and focus on elongation factor-2 kinase, a downstream component of the PI3K-AKT pathway that behaves as a critical checkpoint in energy consumption.
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