• Open Access

Polyamine metabolism and cancer

Authors

  • Thresia Thomas,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Environmental & Community Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
    2. Departments of Environmental & Community Medicine, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
    3. Departments of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
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  • T. J. Thomas

    1. Department of Medicine University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
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*Correspondence to: Thresia THOMAS, Ph.D. 125 Paterson Street, Clinical Academic Building, Room 7092, New Brunswick, NJ 08903, USA., Tel.: (732) 235-8458, Fax: (732) 235-8473, E-mail: thomasth@umdnj.edu

Abstract

Polyamines are aliphatic cations present in all cells. In normal cells, polyamine levels are intricately controlled by biosynthetic and catabolic enzymes. The biosynthetic enzymes are ornithine decarboxylase, S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase, spermidine synthase, and spermine synthase. The catabolic enzymes include spermidine/spermine acetyltransferase, flavin containing polyamine oxidase, copper containing diamine oxidase, and possibly other amine oxidases. Multiple abnormalities in the control of polyamine metabolism and uptake might be responsible for increased levels of polyamines in cancer cells as compared to that of normal cells. This review is designed to look at the current research in polyamine biosynthesis, catabolism, and transport pathways, enumerate the functions of polyamines, and assess the potential for using polyamine metabolism or function as targets for cancer therapy.

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