In brain, the tryptophan degradation products through the kynurenine pathway exhibit neuromodulatory and inflammatory effects and have been related to the progression of neurodegenerative disorders, furthermore, their protagonism on the modulation of immune response and in cancer development has been reported. The immunosuppressive role of kynurenines has been described on glioblastoma models. In patients, the elevated activity of indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) such as the increase of kynurenine/tryptophan ratio have been also reported, suggesting that activation of kynurenine pathway is present during glioblastoma formation and can be related with tumor progression. The importance of the kynurenine pathway during cancer development has encouraged recent studies to the use of IDO inhibitors as a therapeutic strategy for treatment of breast, lung and ovarian cancer, until to get its use in clinical trials. IDO inhibitors also have been used in in vitro and in vivo models of glioblastoma showing promising results. The effect of kynurenines on glioblastoma offer a new perspective about the tryptophan metabolism during cancer. Due to the relevance of the kynurenine pathway in brain homeostasis, immunomodulation and cancer, we discuss the relevance of the kynurenine pathway on the development of glioblastoma multiforme as well as a possible molecular target for glioblastoma treatment.
Part of the book: Mechanisms of Neuroinflammation