Toronto: Cancerous tumour cells expand in the human body by feeding on “bad cholesterols” found in the lipid metabolism, finds a new research.
Tumour cells grow as a result of scavenging on very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) — commonly known as “bad cholesterol” — in the body.
The findings of the clinical trials showed that minimising the liver’s production of LDL would deprive a tumour from its constant supply and therefore reduce its possibility of growth.
Tumours not only use lipids as “building blocks” to grow, but they can regulate their host’s lipid metabolism to increase production of these lipids.
The “bad cholesterol” binds to LDL receptors in the liver, the organ in charge of degrading it and excreting it from the organism as bile.
“Cancer cells need lipids to grow. They can make their own lipids or get more from the host because these cells grow so fast,” explains Richard Lehner, professor at University of Alberta in Canada.
Proteins are identified as one of the key factors for this process, which may cause a decrease in the amount of LDL receptors to excrete the cholesterol.
The tumour affects these proteins to reduce clearance of cholesterol from the blood, leaving the LDL for cancer to feed off of it.
The study, published in the journal Cell Reports, explores mechanisms that can be used to reduce the malignant cells’ growth.
Should these potential clinical trials prove to be effective, we could be facing an improved way to help cancer patients: eliminating the tumour, while preventing it from growing at the same time, the researchers concluded.