To sustain their malignancy, tumour cells acquire several metabolic adaptations such as increased oxygen, glucose, glutamine, and lipids uptake. Other metabolic processes are also enhanced as part of tumour metabolic reprogramming, for example, increased serine metabolism. Serine is a non-essential amino acid that supports several metabolic processes that are crucial for the growth and survival of proliferating cells, including protein, DNA, and glutathione synthesis. Indeed, increased activity of D-3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), the enzyme rate-limiting de novo serine synthesis, has been extensively reported in several tumours. Therefore, selective inhibition of PHGDH may represent a new therapeutic strategy for over-expressing PHGDH tumours, owing to its downstream inhibition of essential biomass production such as one-carbon units and nucleotides. This perspective article will discuss the current status of research into small molecular inhibitors against PHGDH in colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and Ewing’s sarcoma. We will summarise recent studies on the development of PHGDH-inhibitors, highlighting their clinical potential as new therapeutics. It also wants to shed a light on some of the key limitations of the use of PHGDH-inhibitors in cancer treatment which are worth taking into account.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research