The chemically simple, biologically complex eukaryotic polyamines, spermidine and spermine, are positively charged alkylamines involved in many crucial cellular processes. Along with their diamine precursor putrescine, their normally high intracellular concentrations require fine attenuation by multiple regulatory mechanisms to keep these essential molecules within strict physiologic ranges. Since the metabolism of and requirement for polyamines are frequently dysregulated in neoplastic disease, the metabolic pathway and functions of polyamines provide rational drug targets; however, these targets have been difficult to exploit for chemotherapy. It is the goal of this article to review the latest findings in the field that demonstrate the potential utility of targeting the metabolism and function of polyamines as strategies for both chemotherapy and, possibly more importantly, chemoprevention.
- © 2016 The Author(s); published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society