Seleno-amino Acid Metabolism Reshapes the Tumor Microenvironment: from Cytotoxicity to Immunotherapy

Int J Biol Sci. 2024 May 5;20(7):2779-2789. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.95484. eCollection 2024.


Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element for biological processes. Seleno-amino acids (Se-AAs), known as the organic forms of Se, and their metabolic reprogramming have been increasingly recognized to regulate antioxidant defense, enzyme activity, and tumorigenesis. Therefore, there is emerging interest in exploring the potential application of Se-AAs in antitumor therapy. In addition to playing a vital role in inhibiting tumor growth, accumulating evidence has revealed that Se-AA metabolism could reshape the tumor microenvironment (TME) and enhance immunotherapy responses. This review presents a comprehensive overview of the current progress in multifunctional Se-AAs for antitumor treatment, with a particular emphasis on elucidating the crosstalk between Se-AA metabolism and various cell types in the TME, including tumor cells, T cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells. Furthermore, novel applications integrating Se-AAs are also discussed alongside prospects to provide new insights into this emerging field.

Keywords: Cancer; Immunotherapy; Metabolic reprogramming; Selenium; Seleno-amino acid.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy* / methods
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms* / immunology
  • Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Selenium* / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Microenvironment*


  • Amino Acids
  • Selenium