Antibacterial resistance to infectious diseases is a significant global concern for health care organizations; along with aging populations and increasing cancer rates, it represents a great burden for government healthcare systems. Therefore, the development of therapies against bacterial infection and cancer is an important strategy for healthcare research. Pathogenic bacteria and cancer have developed a broad range of sophisticated strategies to survive or propagate inside a host and cause infection or spread disease. Bacteria can employ their own metabolism pathways to obtain nutrients from the host cells in order to survive. Similarly, cancer cells can dysregulate normal human cell metabolic pathways so that they can grow and spread. One common feature of the adaption and disruption of metabolic pathways observed in bacterial and cancer cell growth is amino acid pathways; these have recently been targeted as a novel approach to manage bacterial infections and cancer therapy. In particular, arginine metabolism has been illustrated to be important not only for bacterial pathogenesis but also for cancer therapy. Therefore, greater insights into arginine metabolism of pathogenic bacteria and cancer cells would provide possible targets for controlling of bacterial infection and cancer treatment. This review will summarize the recent progress on the relationship of arginine metabolism with bacterial pathogenesis and cancer therapy, with a particular focus on arginase and arginine deiminase pathways of arginine catabolism.
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