Dysregulation of de novo nucleotide biosynthetic pathway enzymes in cancer and targeting opportunities

Academic Article


  • Cancer is a disease of uncontrolled cell growth and a major cause of death worldwide. Many molecular events characterize tumor initiation and progression. Global gene expression analyses using next-generation sequencing, proteomics and metabolomics show genomic, epigenetic, and metabolite concentration changes in various tumors. Molecular alterations identified include multiple cancer-driving mutations, gene fusions, amplifications, deletions, and post-translational modifications. Data integration from many high-throughput platforms unraveled dysregulation in many metabolic pathways in cancer. Since cancer cells are fast-growing, their metabolic needs are enhanced, hence the requirement for de novo synthesis of essential metabolites. One critical requirement of fast-growing cells and a historically important pathway in cancer is the nucleotide biosynthetic pathway and its enzymes are valuable targets for small molecule inhibition. Purines and pyrimidines are building blocks of DNA synthesis and due to their excessive growth, cancer cells extensively utilize de novo pathways for nucleotide biosynthesis. Methotrexate, one of the early chemotherapeutic agents, targets dihydrofolate reductase of the folate metabolic pathway that is involved in nucleotide biosynthesis. In this review, we discuss the nucleotide biosynthetic pathways in cancer and targeting opportunities.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 1558087
  • Author List

  • Robinson AD; Eich ML; Varambally S
  • Start Page

  • 134
  • End Page

  • 140
  • Volume

  • 470