Linking Serine/Glycine Metabolism to Radiotherapy Resistance

A. Sanchez-Castillo, M. Vooijs, K.R. Kampen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


The activation of de novo serine/glycine biosynthesis in a subset of tumors has been described as a major contributor to tumor pathogenesis, poor outcome, and treatment resistance. Am-plifications and mutations of de novo serine/glycine biosynthesis enzymes can trigger pathway ac-tivation; however, a large group of cancers displays serine/glycine pathway overexpression induced by oncogenic drivers and unknown regulatory mechanisms. A better understanding of the regulatory network of de novo serine/glycine biosynthesis activation in cancer might be essential to unveil opportunities to target tumor heterogeneity and therapy resistance. In the current review, we de-scribe how the activation of de novo serine/glycine biosynthesis in cancer is linked to treatment resistance and its implications in the clinic. To our knowledge, only a few studies have identified this pathway as metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells in response to radiation therapy. We pro-pose an important contribution of de novo serine/glycine biosynthesis pathway activation to radio-resistance by being involved in cancer cell viability and proliferation, maintenance of cancer stem cells (CSCs), and redox homeostasis under hypoxia and nutrient-deprived conditions. Current approaches for inhibition of the de novo serine/glycine biosynthesis pathway provide new opportunities for therapeutic intervention, which in combination with radiotherapy might be a promising strategy for tumor control and ultimately eradication. Further research is needed to gain molecular and mechanistic insight into the activation of this pathway in response to radiation therapy and to design sophisticated stratification methods to select patients that might benefit from serine/glycine metabolism-targeted therapies in combination with radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1191
Number of pages25
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021


  • serine and glycine metabolism
  • SHMT
  • PSAT1
  • PSPH
  • redox homeostasis
  • DNA repair
  • hypoxia
  • cancer
  • radiotherapy
  • resistance


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