Oncogenic mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and IDH2 occur in a wide range of cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and glioma. Mutant IDH enzymes convert 2-oxoglutarate (2OG) to (R)-2-hydroxyglutarate [(R)-2HG], an oncometabolite that is hypothesized to promote cellular transformation by dysregulating 2OG-dependent enzymes. The only (R)-2HG target that has been convincingly shown to contribute to transformation by mutant IDH is the myeloid tumor suppressor TET2. However, there is ample evidence to suggest that (R)-2HG has other functionally relevant targets in IDH-mutant cancers. Here, we show that (R)-2HG inhibits KDM5 histone lysine demethylases and that this inhibition contributes to cellular transformation in IDH-mutant AML and IDH-mutant glioma. These studies provide the first evidence of a functional link between dysregulation of histone lysine methylation and transformation in IDH-mutant cancers.


Mutant IDH is known to induce histone hypermethylation. However, it is not known if this hypermethylation is functionally significant or is a bystander effect of (R)-2HG accumulation in IDH-mutant cells. Here, we provide evidence that KDM5 inhibition by (R)-2HG contributes to mutant IDH–mediated transformation in AML and glioma.

This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1275

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