Metabolic vulnerability of cisplatin-resistant cancers

03:46 EDT 14 Jul 2018 | Nature Publishing

Cisplatin is the most widely used chemotherapeutic agent, and resistance of neoplastic cells against this cytoxicant poses a major problem in clinical oncology. Here, we explored potential metabolic vulnerabilities of cisplatin-resistant non-small human cell lung cancer and ovarian cancer cell lines. Cisplatin-resistant clones were more sensitive to killing by nutrient deprivation in vitro and in vivo than their parental cisplatin-sensitive controls. The susceptibility of cisplatin-resistant cells to starvation could be explained by a particularly strong dependence on glutamine. Glutamine depletion was sufficient to restore cisplatin responses of initially cisplatin-resistant clones, and glutamine supplementation rescued cisplatin-resistant clones from starvation-induced death. Mass spectrometric metabolomics and specific interventions on glutamine metabolism revealed that, in cisplatin-resistant cells, glutamine is mostly required for nucleotide biosynthesis rather than for anaplerotic, bioenergetic or redox reactions. As a result, cisplatin-resistant cancers became exquisitely sensitive to treatment with antimetabolites that target nucleoside metabolism.

Original Article: Metabolic vulnerability of cisplatin-resistant cancers


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