The therapeutic potential of targeting tryptophan catabolism in cancer.


Based on its effects on both tumour cell intrinsic malignant properties as well as anti-tumour immune responses, tryptophan catabolism has emerged as an important metabolic regulator of cancer progression. Three enzymes, indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase 1 and 2 (IDO1/2) and tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase (TDO2), catalyse the first step of the degradation of the essential amino acid tryptophan (Trp) to kynurenine (Kyn). The notion of inhibiting IDO1 using small-molecule inhibitors elicited high hopes of a positive impact in the field of immuno-oncology, by restoring anti-tumour immune responses and synergising with other immunotherapies such as immune checkpoint inhibition. However, clinical trials with IDO1 inhibitors have yielded disappointing results, hence raising many questions. This review will discuss strategies to target Trp-degrading enzymes and possible down-stream consequences of their inhibition. We aim to provide comprehensive background information on Trp catabolic enzymes as targets in immuno-oncology and their current state of development. Details of the clinical trials with IDO1 inhibitors, including patient stratification, possible effects of the inhibitors themselves, effects of pre-treatments and the therapies the inhibitors were combined with, are discussed and mechanisms proposed that might have compensated for IDO1 inhibition. Finally, alternative approaches are suggested to circumvent these problems.


PubMed ID: 31819194

Projects: MESI-STRAT

Publication type: Journal

Journal: Br J Cancer

Citation: Br J Cancer. 2020 Jan;122(1):30-44. doi: 10.1038/s41416-019-0664-6. Epub 2019 Dec 10.

Date Published: 11th Dec 2019

Registered Mode: by PubMed ID

Authors: C. A. Opitz, L. F. Somarribas Patterson, S. R. Mohapatra, D. L. Dewi, A. Sadik, M. Platten, S. Trump

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Created: 23rd Feb 2021 at 10:41

Last updated: 8th Dec 2022 at 17:26

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