L-2-hydroxyglutarate remodeling of the epigenome and epitranscriptome creates a metabolic vulnerability in kidney cancer models

J Clin Invest. 2024 May 14:e171294. doi: 10.1172/JCI171294. Online ahead of print.


Tumor cells are known to undergo considerable metabolic reprogramming to meet their unique demands and drive tumor growth. At the same time, this reprogramming may come at a cost with resultant metabolic vulnerabilities. The small molecule L-2-hdroxyglutarate (L-2HG) is elevated in the most common histology of renal cancer. Similar to other oncometabolites, L-2HG has the potential to profoundly impact gene expression. Here, we demonstrate that L-2HG remodels amino acid metabolism in renal cancer cells through the combined effects on histone methylation and RNA N6-methyladenosine (m6A). The combined effects of L-2HG result in a metabolic liability that renders tumors cells reliant on exogenous serine to support proliferation, redox homeostasis, and tumor growth. In concert with these data, high L-2HG kidney cancers demonstrates reduced expression of multiple serine biosynthetic enzymes. Collectively, our data indicate that high L-2HG renal tumors could be specifically targeted by strategies that limit serine availability to tumors.

Keywords: Metabolism; Oncology; Urology.