Arginine deprivation in cancer therapy

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015 Jan;18(1):78-82. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000122.


Purpose of review: There has been an increased and renewed interest in metabolic therapy for cancer, particularly Arg deprivation. The purpose of this review is to highlight recent studies that focus on Arg-dependent malignancies with Arginine (Arg)-degrading enzymes, including arginase and Arg deiminase.

Recent findings: New developments in this area include understanding of the role of most significantly downregulated gene regulating amino acid metabolism, argininosuccinate synthetase and its expression and therapeutic relevance in different tumors. Recent studies have also shed light on the mechanism of tumor cell death with Arg deprivation, with arginase and pegylated Arg deiminase. Particularly important is understanding the mechanism of resistance that cancers develop after such drug exposure. Finally, recent clinical trials have been performed or are ongoing to use Arg deprivation as treatment for advanced malignancies.

Summary: Arg deprivation is a promising approach for the treatment of various malignancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arginase / metabolism
  • Arginase / pharmacology
  • Arginase / therapeutic use*
  • Arginine / metabolism*
  • Argininosuccinate Synthase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Hydrolases / pharmacology
  • Hydrolases / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Polyethylene Glycols / metabolism
  • Polyethylene Glycols / pharmacology
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Arginine
  • Hydrolases
  • Arginase
  • ADI PEG20
  • arginine deiminase
  • Argininosuccinate Synthase