Glioma is the most common and devastating malignancy of the central nervous system (CNS). We discovered that the majority of adult low-grade gliomas and secondary glioblastomas possess a hot spot mutation in the metabolic enzyme isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1). One common feature of IDH1 mutations is a neomorphic enzymatic activity converting alpha-ketoglutarate (?) to 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG), which impairs ?-dependent histone and DNA demethylases, resulting in global epigenetic changes. These discoveries have immediate clinical implications: they provide a genetic signature to augment conventional tumor classification and they aid in prognosis, treatment selection, and therapeutic trial design. While the deregulation of metabolism and epigenetics have emerged as phenomena associated with IDH1-mutated cells, the detailed connection between the IDH1 mutation and cellular biological phenotypes remains to be determined. The overall goals of our research are to understand the fundamental impact of IDH1 mutations on gliomagenesis and to evaluate therapeutic strategies of targeting mutant IDH1 itself and with other molecular pathways required by IDH1-mutated tumors. Based on our preliminary data, we have formulated a central hypothesis: mutant IDH1 and mutant IDH1-induced metabolic shifts are critical events underlying the development of IDH1-mutated glioma. The rationale for this study is that by identifying how mutant IDH1 initiates or promotes gliomagenesis, we will build a deeper understanding of brain cancer and its therapeutic vulnerabilities. Here we propose the following specific aims:
Aim 1) Dissect the impact of mutant IDH1 on tumor formation, progression and maintenance in biologically and genetically relevant model systems;
Aim 2) Achieve comprehensive and dynamic characterization of metabolic alterations in IDH1-mutated cells prior to and following mutant IDH1 targeting. To lay the foundation for these specific aims, we have developed genetically engineered mouse models expressing mutant IDH1 in the CNS. This will define the impact of mutant IDH1 in a biologically relevant context, one similar to that of human gliomas. We also have generated isogenic cell lines to dissect the impact of the IDH1 mutation on the cellular epigenome and metabolome. Additionally, we have successfully derived genetically faithful and clinically relevant glioma cell lines and xenograft models from IDH1-mutated gliomas allowing us to ascertain whether mutant IDH1 is a viable therapeutic target in glioma. Finally, we have used a small molecule specifically targeting mutant IDH1 to inhibit 2HG production allowing us to evaluate the therapeutic value and precise molecular consequences of targeting mutant IDH1 in these systems. Our work will improve the understanding of the interplay between genetic and metabolic events during oncogenesis, thereby opening an entirely new field of study.

Public Health Relevance

In addition to providing new information about the basic pathogenic mechanism of gliomas, this research will also provide immediate clinical implications to contribute to the development of therapeutic interventions for this aggressive cancer. The results derived from this study have the potential to lead to greater understanding of cancer metabolism, which may yield insights for targeting other cancers,

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Clinical Neuroimmunology and Brain Tumors Study Section (CNBT)
Program Officer
Spalholz, Barbara A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Duke University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Waitkus, Matthew S; Diplas, Bill H; Yan, Hai (2018) Biological Role and Therapeutic Potential of IDH Mutations in Cancer. Cancer Cell 34:186-195
Diplas, Bill H; He, Xujun; Brosnan-Cashman, Jacqueline A et al. (2018) The genomic landscape of TERT promoter wildtype-IDH wildtype glioblastoma. Nat Commun 9:2087
Waitkus, Matthew S; Pirozzi, Christopher J; Moure, Casey J et al. (2018) Adaptive Evolution of the GDH2 Allosteric Domain Promotes Gliomagenesis by Resolving IDH1R132H-Induced Metabolic Liabilities. Cancer Res 78:36-50
Diplas, Bill H; Liu, Heng; Yang, Rui et al. (2018) Sensitive and rapid detection of TERT promoter and IDH mutations in diffuse gliomas. Neuro Oncol :
Yang, Rui; Chen, Lee H; Hansen, Landon J et al. (2017) Cic Loss Promotes Gliomagenesis via Aberrant Neural Stem Cell Proliferation and Differentiation. Cancer Res 77:6097-6108
Pirozzi, Christopher J; Carpenter, Austin B; Waitkus, Matthew S et al. (2017) Mutant IDH1 Disrupts the Mouse Subventricular Zone and Alters Brain Tumor Progression. Mol Cancer Res 15:507-520
Waitkus, Matthew S; Diplas, Bill H; Yan, Hai (2016) Isocitrate dehydrogenase mutations in gliomas. Neuro Oncol 18:16-26
Gurzadyan, V G; Yan, H; Vlahovic, G et al. (2015) Detecting somatic mutations in genomic sequences by means of Kolmogorov-Arnold analysis. R Soc Open Sci 2:150143
Huang, Dong-Sheng; Wang, Zhaohui; He, Xu-Jun et al. (2015) Recurrent TERT promoter mutations identified in a large-scale study of multiple tumour types are associated with increased TERT expression and telomerase activation. Eur J Cancer 51:969-76
Reitman, Zachary J; Sinenko, Sergey A; Spana, Eric P et al. (2015) Genetic dissection of leukemia-associated IDH1 and IDH2 mutants and D-2-hydroxyglutarate in Drosophila. Blood 125:336-45

Showing the most recent 10 out of 37 publications