Research Papers:

Phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase is dispensable for breast tumor maintenance and growth

Jinyun Chen, Franklin Chung, Guizhi Yang, Minying Pu, Hui Gao, Wei Jiang, Hong Yin, Vladimir Capka, Shailaja Kasibhatla, Bryan Laffitte, Savina Jaeger, Raymond Pagliarini, Yaoyu Chen _ and Wenlai Zhou

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Oncotarget. 2013; 4:2502-2511. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1540

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Jinyun Chen1, Franklin Chung1, Guizhi Yang1, Minying Pu1, Hui Gao1, Wei Jiang2, Hong Yin2, Vladimir Capka2, Shailaja Kasibhatla3, Bryan Laffitte3, Savina Jaeger1, Raymond Pagliarini1, Yaoyu Chen1 and Wenlai Zhou1

1 Oncology, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

2 Analytic Science, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

3 The Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, San Diego, California, United States


Yaoyu Chen, email: [email protected], email:

Wenlai Zhou, email:

Keywords: PHGDH, breast cancer cells, in vivo

Received: October 24, 2013 Accepted: November 24, 2013 Published: November 26, 2013


Cancer cells rely on aerobic glycolysis to maintain cell growth and proliferation via the Warburg effect. Phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHDGH) catalyzes the first step of the serine biosynthetic pathway downstream of glycolysis, which is a metabolic gatekeeper both for macromolecular biosynthesis and serine-dependent DNA synthesis. Here, we report that PHDGH is overexpressed in many ER-negative human breast cancer cell lines. PHGDH knockdown in these cells leads to a reduction of serine synthesis and impairment of cancer cell proliferation. However, PHGDH knockdown does not affect tumor maintenance and growth in established breast cancer xenograft models, suggesting that PHGDH-dependent cancer cell growth may be context-dependent. Our findings suggest that other mechanisms or pathways may bypass exclusive dependence on PHGDH in established human breast cancer xenografts, indicating that PHGDH is dispensable for the growth and maintenance and of tumors in vivo.

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