Human tumors are methionine dependent in vivo

Anticancer Res. May-Jun 1995;15(3):717-8.


Methionine-dependence is a tumor-specific biochemical defect expressed by the inability or decreased ability of tumors to grow under the condition of methionine-depletion. Many reports have shown that methionine-dependence occurs in human tumors of all types, including fresh surgical specimens in vitro. However, in vivo determinations of methionine-dependence have thus far been made only in rodent malignant tumors using methionine-deficient diets. We report here for the first time that human cancer xenografts in nude mice are methionine-dependent and when fed a methionine-free diet tumor growth is greatly inhibited. The body weight of mice on the methionine-free diet was found to be maintainable by once-per-week administration of methionine. The data presented here suggest that methionine-dependence can be an important target for human cancer treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Methionine / deficiency
  • Methionine / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Methionine