Selective killing of tumors deficient in methylthioadenosine phosphorylase: a novel strategy

PloS One
Martin Lubin, Adam Lubin


The gene for methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) lies on 9p21, close to the gene CDKN2A that encodes the tumor suppressor proteins p16 and p14ARF. MTAP and CDKN2A are homozygously co-deleted, with a frequency of 35 to 70%, in lung and pancreatic cancer, glioblastoma, osteosarcoma, soft-tissue sarcoma, mesothelioma, and T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In normal cells, but not in tumor cells lacking MTAP, MTAP cleaves the natural substrate, 5'-deoxy-5'-methylthioadenosine (MTA), to adenine and 5-methylthioribose-1-phosphate (MTR-1-P), which are then converted to adenine nucleotides and methionine. This distinct difference between normal MTAP-positive cells and tumor MTAP-negative cells led to several proposals for therapy. We offer a novel strategy in which both MTA and a toxic adenine analog, such as 2,6-diaminopurine (DAP), 6-methylpurine (MeP), or 2-fluoroadenine (F-Ade), are administered. In MTAP-positive cells, abundant adenine, generated from supplied MTA, competitively blocks the conversion of an analog, by adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (APRT), to its active nucleotide form. In MTAP-negative tumor cells, the supplied MTA cannot generate adenine; hence conversion of the analog is not blocked. We show that this...Continue Reading


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