Molecular basis and current strategies of therapeutic arginine depletion for cancer

Livingstone Fultang, Ashley Vardon, Carmela De Santo, Francis Mussai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Renewed interest in the use of therapeutic enzymes combined with an improved knowledge of cancer cell metabolism, has led to the translation of several arginine depletion strategies into early phase clinical trials. Arginine auxotrophic tumors are reliant on extracellular arginine, due to the downregulation of arginosuccinate synthetase (ASS-1) or ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) - key enzymes for intracellular arginine recycling. Engineered arginine catabolic enzymes such as recombinant human arginase (rh-Arg1-PEG) and arginine deiminase (ADI-PEG) have demonstrated cytotoxicity against arginine auxotrophic tumors. In this review, we discuss the molecular events triggered by extracellular arginine depletion that contribute to tumor cell death. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501–509
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Early online date15 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • arginine deprivation
  • recombinant human arginase
  • arginine deiminase


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