PHGDH-mediated endothelial metabolism drives glioblastoma resistance to chimeric antigen receptor T cell immunotherapy

Cell Metab. 2023 Mar 7;35(3):517-534.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2023.01.010. Epub 2023 Feb 17.


The efficacy of immunotherapy is limited by the paucity of T cells delivered and infiltrated into the tumors through aberrant tumor vasculature. Here, we report that phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH)-mediated endothelial cell (EC) metabolism fuels the formation of a hypoxic and immune-hostile vascular microenvironment, driving glioblastoma (GBM) resistance to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell immunotherapy. Our metabolome and transcriptome analyses of human and mouse GBM tumors identify that PHGDH expression and serine metabolism are preferentially altered in tumor ECs. Tumor microenvironmental cues induce ATF4-mediated PHGDH expression in ECs, triggering a redox-dependent mechanism that regulates endothelial glycolysis and leads to EC overgrowth. Genetic PHGDH ablation in ECs prunes over-sprouting vasculature, abrogates intratumoral hypoxia, and improves T cell infiltration into the tumors. PHGDH inhibition activates anti-tumor T cell immunity and sensitizes GBM to CAR T therapy. Thus, reprogramming endothelial metabolism by targeting PHGDH may offer a unique opportunity to improve T cell-based immunotherapy.

Keywords: ATF4; CAR T immunotherapy; PHGDH; endothelial metabolism; glycolysis; vascular pruning.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Glioblastoma* / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Mice
  • Phosphoglycerate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen
  • Phosphoglycerate Dehydrogenase