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A major challenge of targeting metabolism for cancer therapy is pathway redundancy, in which multiple sources of critical nutrients can limit the effectiveness of some metabolism-targeted therapies. Here, we analyze lineage-dependent gene expression in human breast tumors to identify differences in metabolic gene expression that may limit pathway redundancy and create therapeutic vulnerabilities. We find that the serine synthesis pathway gene PSAT1 is the most depleted metabolic gene in luminal breast tumors relative to basal tumors. Low PSAT1 prevents de novo serine biosynthesis and sensitizes luminal breast cancer cells to serine and glycine starvation in vitro and in vivo. This PSAT1 expression disparity preexists in the putative cells of origin of basal and luminal tumors and is due to luminal-specific hypermethylation of the PSAT1 gene. Our data demonstrate that luminal breast tumors are auxotrophic for serine and may be uniquely sensitive to therapies targeting serine availability. Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Bo-Hyun Choi, Vipin Rawat, Jenny Högström, Philippa A Burns, Kelly O Conger, Mete Emir Ozgurses, Jaymin M Patel, Tejas S Mehta, Angelica Warren, Laura M Selfors, Taru Muranen, Jonathan L Coloff. Lineage-specific silencing of PSAT1 induces serine auxotrophy and sensitivity to dietary serine starvation in luminal breast tumors. Cell reports. 2022 Jan 18;38(3):110278

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PMID: 35045283

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