Methionine and Kynurenine Activate Oncogenic Kinases in Glioblastoma, and Methionine Deprivation Compromises Proliferation.

Palanichamy K, Thirumoorthy K, Kanji S, Gordon N, Singh R, Jacob JR, Sebastian N, Litzenberg KT, Patel D, Bassett E, Ramasubramanian B, Lautenschlaeger T, Fischer SM, Ray-Chaudhury A, Chakravarti A
Clin Cancer Res 22 3513-23 01/15/2016


PURPOSE: We employed a metabolomics-based approach with the goal to better understand the molecular signatures of glioblastoma cells and tissues, with an aim toward identifying potential targetable biomarkers for developing more effective and novel therapies.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We used liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS/Q-TOF and LC-MS/QQQ) for the discovery and validation of metabolites from primary and established glioblastoma cells, glioblastoma tissues, and normal human astrocytes.

RESULTS: We identified tryptophan, methionine, kynurenine, and 5-methylthioadenosine as differentially regulated metabolites (DRM) in glioblastoma cells compared with normal human astrocytes (NHAs). Unlike NHAs, glioblastoma cells depend on dietary methionine for proliferation, colony formation, survival, and to maintain a deregulated methylome (SAM:SAH ratio). In methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP)-deficient glioblastoma cells, expression of MTAP transgene did not alter methionine dependency, but compromised tumor growth in vivo We discovered that a lack of the kynurenine-metabolizing enzymes kynurenine monooxygenase and/or kynureninase promotes the accumulation of kynurenine, which triggers immune evasion in glioblastoma cells. In silico analysis of the identified DRMs mapped the activation of key oncogenic kinases that promotes tumorigenesis in glioblastoma. We validated this result by demonstrating that the exogenous addition of DRMs to glioblastoma cells in vitro results in oncogene activation as well as the simultaneous downregulation of Ser/Thr phosphatase PP2A.

CONCLUSIONS: We have connected a four-metabolite signature, implicated in the methionine and kynurenine pathways, to the promotion and maintenance of glioblastoma. Together, our data suggest that these metabolites and their respective metabolic pathways serve as potential therapeutic targets for glioblastoma. Clin Cancer Res; 22(14); 3513-23. ©2016 AACR.

Full Text