Targeting polyamine metabolism and function in cancer and other hyperproliferative diseases

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2007 May;6(5):373-90. doi: 10.1038/nrd2243.


The polyamines spermidine and spermine and their diamine precursor putrescine are naturally occurring, polycationic alkylamines that are essential for eukaryotic cell growth. The requirement for and the metabolism of polyamines are frequently dysregulated in cancer and other hyperproliferative diseases, thus making polyamine function and metabolism attractive targets for therapeutic intervention. Recent advances in our understanding of polyamine function, metabolic regulation, and differences between normal cells and tumour cells with respect to polyamine biology, have reinforced the interest in this target-rich pathway for drug development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biogenic Polyamines / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Biogenic Polyamines / biosynthesis
  • Biogenic Polyamines / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biogenic Polyamines
  • Enzyme Inhibitors