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Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Review Article

Amino Acid Degrading Enzymes and their Application in Cancer Therapy

Author(s): Vadim S. Pokrovsky*, Olga E. Chepikova, Denis Zh. Davydov, Andrey A. Zamyatnin Jr, Alexander N. Lukashev and Elena V. Lukasheva

Volume 26, Issue 3, 2019

Page: [446 - 464] Pages: 19

DOI: 10.2174/0929867324666171006132729

Price: $65


Background: Amino acids are essential components in various biochemical pathways. The deprivation of certain amino acids is an antimetabolite strategy for the treatment of amino acid-dependent cancers which exploits the compromised metabolism of malignant cells. Several studies have focused on the development and preclinical and clinical evaluation of amino acid degrading enzymes, namely L-asparaginase, L-methionine γ-lyase, L-arginine deiminase, L-lysine α-oxidase. Further research into cancer cell metabolism may therefore define possible targets for controlling tumor growth.

Objective: The purpose of this review was to summarize recent progress in the relationship between amino acids metabolism and cancer therapy, with a particular focus on Lasparagine, L-methionine, L-arginine and L-lysine degrading enzymes and their formulations, which have been successfully used in the treatment of several types of cancer.

Methods: We carried out a structured search among literature regarding to amino acid degrading enzymes. The main aspects of search were in vitro and in vivo studies, clinical trials concerning application of these enzymes in oncology.

Results: Most published research are on the subject of L-asparaginase properties and it’s use for cancer treatment. L-arginine deiminase has shown promising results in a phase II trial in advanced melanoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Other enzymes, in particular Lmethionine γ-lyase and L-lysine α-oxidase, were effective in vitro and in vivo.

Conclusion: The findings of this review revealed that therapy based on amino acid depletion may have the potential application for cancer treatment but further clinical investigations are required to provide the efficacy and safety of these agents.

Keywords: Amino acid degrading enzymes, L-asparaginase, L-methionine γ-lyase, L-arginine deiminase, L-lysine α-oxidase, cancer therapy, cancer treatment.

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