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Cancer Res. 1988 Feb 15;48(4):759-74.

Polyamine metabolism and its importance in neoplastic growth and a target for chemotherapy.

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Department of Physiology, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey 17033.


The polyamine-biosynthetic pathway represents an inviting target for the development of agents inhibiting carcinogenesis and tumor growth. Polyamines play an essential role in the proliferation and development of mammalian cells. Deranged polyamine metabolism may be an important factor in carcinogenesis. Depletion of polyamines inhibits growth of neoplastic cells in vitro and in animal models. Several different classes of other anticancer agents may under some conditions exert enhanced effects when polyamine levels are depleted. Some suitable inhibitors of polyamine production are currently available and other promising compounds are presently being tested. It should soon prove possible to block polyamine biosynthesis at every step in the pathway. The use of these inhibitors alone and combined either with each other or with other antitumor agents will enable a full examination of the potential of this approach.

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