Aggressive cancer cells typically show a high rate of energy-consuming anabolic processes driving the synthesis of lipids, proteins, and DNA. Here, we took advantage of the ability of the cell-permeable nucleoside 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide (AICA) riboside to increase the intracellular levels of AICA ribotide, an AMP analogue, mimicking a low energy status of the cell. Treatment of cancer cells with AICA riboside impeded lipogenesis, decreased protein translation, and blocked DNA synthesis. Cells treated with AICA riboside stopped proliferating and lost their invasive properties and their ability to form colonies. When administered in vivo, AICA riboside attenuated the growth of MDA-MB-231 tumors in nude mice. These findings point toward a central tie between energy, anabolism, and cancer and suggest that the cellular energy sensing machinery in cancer cells is an exploitable target for cancer prevention and/or therapy.