Recent Development of Small Molecule Glutaminase Inhibitors

Author(s): Minsoo Song*, Soong-Hyun Kim, Chun Young Im, Hee-Jong Hwang

Journal Name: Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry

Volume 18 , Issue 6 , 2018

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Graphical Abstract:


Glutaminase (GLS), which is responsible for the conversion of glutamine to glutamate, plays a vital role in up-regulating cell metabolism for tumor cell growth and is considered to be a valuable therapeutic target for cancer treatment. Based on this important function of glutaminase in cancer, several GLS inhibitors have been developed in both academia and industry. Most importantly, Calithera Biosciences Inc. is actively developing the glutaminase inhibitor CB-839 for the treatment of various cancers, and it is currently being evaluated in phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. In this review, recent efforts to develop small molecule glutaminase inhibitors that target glutamine metabolism in both preclinical and clinical studies are discussed. In particular, more emphasis is placed on CB-839 because it is the only small molecule GLS inhibitor being studied in a clinical setting. The inhibition mechanism is also discussed based on X-ray structure studies of thiadiazole derivatives present in glutaminase inhibitor BPTES. Finally, recent medicinal chemistry efforts to develop a new class of GLS inhibitors are described in the hopes of providing useful information for the next generation of GLS inhibitors.

Keywords: Glutaminase, glutaminase inhibitors, cancer target, BPTES, CB-839, allosteric inhibitors.

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Article Details

Year: 2018
Published on: 28 June, 2018
Page: [432 - 443]
Pages: 12
DOI: 10.2174/1568026618666180525100830
Price: $65

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