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Meeting Abstract

Nutrient scarcity confers breast cancer brain metastasis sensitivity to serine synthesis pathway inhibition


Mann,  Matthias
Mann, Matthias / Proteomics and Signal Transduction, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Ngo, B., Kim, E., Doll, S., Bustraan, S., Luengo, A., Davidson, S. M., et al. (2020). Nutrient scarcity confers breast cancer brain metastasis sensitivity to serine synthesis pathway inhibition. Cancer Research, 80(16, Suppl.): 5712. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2020-5712.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-AA86-1
The metabolic milieu of the brain is severely deprived of nutrients, including the amino acids serine and its catabolite glycine. The metabolic rewiring required for tumor cells to survive in the nutrient-limited environment of the brain and the metabolic vulnerabilities this confers are poorly understood.

Here we demonstrate that cell-intrinsic de novo serine synthesis is a major determinant of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) brain metastasis. Whole proteome comparison of TNBC cells that differ in their capacity to colonize the brain reveals that 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), which catalyzes the rate-limiting step of glucose-derived serine synthesis, is the most significantly upregulated protein in cells that efficiently metastasize to the brain. Expression of catalytically active PHGDH in a non-brain trophic cell line promoted brain metastasis. Furthermore, genetic silencing or pharmacological inhibition of PHGDH attenuated brain metastasis burden in mice.

These findings indicate that nutrient availability determines serine synthesis pathway dependence in brain metastasis, and suggest that PHGDH inhibitors may be useful in the treatment of patients with cancers that have spread to the brain.