Dysregulated Lipid Synthesis by Oncogenic IDH1 Mutation Is a Targetable Synthetic Lethal Vulnerability

Cancer Discov. 2023 Feb 6;13(2):496-515. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-21-0218.


Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (IDH) are mutated in multiple cancers and drive production of (R)-2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG). We identified a lipid synthesis enzyme [acetyl CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1)] as a synthetic lethal target in mutant IDH1 (mIDH1), but not mIDH2, cancers. Here, we analyzed the metabolome of primary acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blasts and identified an mIDH1-specific reduction in fatty acids. mIDH1 also induced a switch to b-oxidation indicating reprogramming of metabolism toward a reliance on fatty acids. Compared with mIDH2, mIDH1 AML displayed depletion of NADPH with defective reductive carboxylation that was not rescued by the mIDH1-specific inhibitor ivosidenib. In xenograft models, a lipid-free diet markedly slowed the growth of mIDH1 AML, but not healthy CD34+ hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells or mIDH2 AML. Genetic and pharmacologic targeting of ACC1 resulted in the growth inhibition of mIDH1 cancers not reversible by ivosidenib. Critically, the pharmacologic targeting of ACC1 improved the sensitivity of mIDH1 AML to venetoclax.

Significance: Oncogenic mutations in both IDH1 and IDH2 produce 2-hydroxyglutarate and are generally considered equivalent in terms of pathogenesis and targeting. Using comprehensive metabolomic analysis, we demonstrate unexpected metabolic differences in fatty acid metabolism between mutant IDH1 and IDH2 in patient samples with targetable metabolic interventions. See related commentary by Robinson and Levine, p. 266. This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 247.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Glutarates / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / genetics
  • Mutation


  • alpha-hydroxyglutarate
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase
  • Glutarates
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • IDH1 protein, human