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Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of cancer cells and contributes to their adaption within the tumour microenvironment and resistance to anticancer therapies. Recently, glycogen metabolism has become a recognised feature of cancer cells since it is upregulated in many tumour types, suggesting that it is an important aspect of cancer cell pathophysiology. Here, we provide an overview of glycogen metabolism and its regulation, with a focus on its role in metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells under stress conditions such as hypoxia, glucose deprivation and anticancer treatment. The various methods to detect glycogen in tumours in vivo as well as pharmacological modulators of glycogen metabolism are also reviewed. Finally, we discuss the therapeutic value of targeting glycogen metabolism as a strategy for combinational approaches in cancer treatment.

Original publication




Journal article


J Mol Med (Berl)

Publication Date





137 - 154


Cancer therapy, Glycogen metabolism, Hypoxia, Radiation, Tumour Microenvironment, Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Disease Progression, Energy Metabolism, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Glycogen, Humans, Hypoxia, Molecular Targeted Therapy, Neoplasms, Organ Specificity, Tumor Microenvironment