ARID1A molecular driver of some ovarian cancers and glutamine benefits and harm

dos and donts

This is a very important research article that the Gynecologic Oncology Institute investigative team uncovered. The reason, beyond the possibility of new ways to treat certain ovarian cancers, is that chemotherapy is often neurotoxic and many oncologists prescribe very high doses of glutamine to help prevent or treat that side effect.  If you have the ARID1A gene mutation, which is most commonly found in the clear cell subtype, additional glutamine (especially high dose) may be feeding cancer and can make it grow!  

Mutations that inactivate the ARID1A gene in ovarian cancer increase the use of glutamine amino acid, making cancer cells dependent on glutamine metabolism. This is according to a study by the Wistar Institute published online in Nature Cancer. The researchers also showed that pharmacological inhibition of glutamine metabolism may be an effective therapeutic strategy for ARID1A mutated ovarian cancer.

Up to 60 percent of clear cell ovarian cancers (OCCC) have mutations in the ARID1A tumor suppressor gene inactivated. These mutations are known genetic drivers of this cancer, which is typically unresponsive to chemotherapy and has the worst prognosis of any ovarian cancer subtype.” 

So, a major credo in medicine is “First, Do No Harm”.  While the metabolic treatment potential here, limiting glutamine metabolism, is worthy of further study, the first thing to make sure is that glutamine is not being administered in high doses which may be making this type of cancer grow.  

The Gynecologic Oncology Institute and Dr. Steven Vasilev MD focus on ovarian cancer treatment, from expert minimally invasive surgery to chemo and molecularly targeted therapies, to survivorship with integrative support.  Also, we focus on endometriosis, which is benign but can be linked to clear cell ovarian cancer.  Bodybuilding women sometimes will take glutamine supplements and this may also be counterproductive if the ARID1A gene mutation is present in endometriosis cells. 

Discover more below. 

Read about ARID1A and endometriosis

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“I help and guide women to beat endometriosis and gynecologic cancers that are associated with endo, like ovarian cancer, using a unique combination of minimally invasive robotic surgery, precision medicine therapies and complementary holistic natural support towards thriving in survivorship." Dr. Vasilev is the only physician triple board certified in Ob-Gyn, Gynecologic Oncology and Integrative & Holistic Medicine in the United States. He is an accomplished advanced robotic master surgeon, and is internationally vetted by iCareBetter ( He serves as Professor at the world-renowned Saint John's Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California and is Clinical Professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He is former faculty and professor at UC Irvine, UCLA, USC and City of Hope and was the founding Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at Providence Saint John's Health Center. He is an active member of multiple medical societies and has been nationally listed in "Best Doctors" for over 20 years.