Glutamine metabolism in tumor microenvironments critically regulates antitumor immunity. Using the glutamine-antagonist prodrug JHU083, we report potent tumor growth inhibition in urologic tumors by JHU083-reprogrammed tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and tumor-infiltrating monocytes. We show JHU083-mediated glutamine antagonism in tumor microenvironments induced by TNF, proinflammatory, and mTORC1 signaling in intratumoral TAM clusters. JHU083-reprogrammed TAMs also exhibited increased tumor cell phagocytosis and diminished proangiogenic capacities. In vivo inhibition of TAM glutamine consumption resulted in increased glycolysis, a broken tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and purine metabolism disruption. Although the antitumor effect of glutamine antagonism on tumor-infiltrating T cells was moderate, JHU083 promoted a stem cell–like phenotype in CD8+ T cells and decreased the abundance of regulatory T cells. Finally, JHU083 caused a global shutdown in glutamine-utilizing metabolic pathways in tumor cells, leading to reduced HIF-1α, c-MYC phosphorylation, and induction of tumor cell apoptosis, all key antitumor features. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that targeting glutamine with JHU083 led to suppressed tumor growth as well as reprogramming of immunosuppressive TAMs within prostate and bladder tumors that promoted antitumor immune responses. JHU083 can offer an effective therapeutic benefit for tumor types that are enriched in immunosuppressive TAMs.

Synopsis: The authors show in myeloid-rich urologic tumors that glutamine antagonism in TAMs results in functional alterations, including increased tumor-cell phagocytosis, inflammatory signaling, immune-proliferative pathways, and glycolysis. This promotes antitumor immunity, suggesting new therapeutic approaches for these immunotherapy-unresponsive tumors.

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