Methionine Restriction and Cancer Biology

Nutrients. 2020 Mar 3;12(3):684. doi: 10.3390/nu12030684.


The essential amino acid, methionine, is important for cancer cell growth and metabolism. A growing body of evidence indicates that methionine restriction inhibits cancer cell growth and may enhance the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents. This review summarizes the efficacy and mechanism of action of methionine restriction on hallmarks of cancer in vitro and in vivo. The review highlights the role of glutathione formation, polyamine synthesis, and methyl group donation as mediators of the effects of methionine restriction on cancer biology. The translational potential of the use of methionine restriction as a personalized nutritional approach for the treatment of patients with cancer is also discussed.

Keywords: amino acids; cancer; glutathione; methionine; methylation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Methionine / administration & dosage
  • Methionine / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / diet therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology


  • Methionine