Serine and glycine metabolism in cancer

Ivano Amelio, Francesca Cutruzzolá, Alexey Antonov, Massimiliano Agostini, Gerry Melino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serine and glycine are biosynthetically linked, and together provide the essential precursors for the synthesis of proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids that are crucial to cancer cell growth. Moreover, serine/glycine biosynthesis also affects cellular antioxidative capacity, thus supporting tumour homeostasis. A crucial contribution of serine/glycine to cellular metabolism is through the glycine cleavage system, which refuels one-carbon metabolism; a complex cyclic metabolic network based on chemical reactions of folate compounds. The importance of serine/glycine metabolism is further highlighted by genetic and functional evidence indicating that hyperactivation of the serine/glycine biosynthetic pathway drives oncogenesis. Recent developments in our understanding of these pathways provide novel translational opportunities for drug development, dietary intervention, and biomarker identification of human cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-198
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Biochemical Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Cancer metabolism
  • Folate
  • Glycine
  • One-carbon metabolism
  • Serine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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