Cholesterol unlocks clues to prostate cancer spread

April 17, 2014, University of Manchester

(Medical Xpress)—The findings could help explain why taking statins – commonly used cholesterol-lowering drugs – is thought to slow the progress of the disease in some cases.

The scientists, from The University of Manchester, made the discovery by combining in the lab with arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid that has been shown to attract prostate cancer cells to the bone marrow, where it is found naturally in high concentrations.

When the prostate cancer cells were exposed to AA the researchers found that they changed shape, becoming rounder and also sprouting projections that helped them to squeeze through the gaps in the surrounding tissues and become established in the bone marrow.

But the researchers found they were able to stop the cells developing these characteristics by treating them with statins, which disrupt their ability to manufacture cholesterol.

Professor Noel Clarke, who jointly led the study with Dr Mick Brown and Dr Thomas Tawadros at The University of Manchester, said: "Our study shows how naturally occurring fatty acids in the directly interact with the body's system of manufacturing cholesterol to enhance prostate ' ability to spread around the body. Understanding this process will provide vital clues as to how drugs like might benefit certain groups of prostate cancer patients who are more at risk of their cancer spreading."

The University of Manchester is part of Manchester Cancer Research Centre a three-way partnership also including Cancer Research UK and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

Nell Barrie, senior science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "Prostate cancer spreading to the bones is a major challenge for doctors and unfortunately it's very difficult to treat. Altering cholesterol metabolism or blocking the ways in which cells are able to change their shape, and thereby their ability to spread, could lead to major advances in treating men with aggressive forms of the disease."

"Finding ways to better treat cancer by taking research from the lab to help patients is at the heart of the new Manchester Cancer Research Centre – set to open this autumn."

Explore further: New imaging approach fast tracks drug testing for incurable prostate cancer

More information: Brown, M et al 'Arachidonic acid induction of Rho mediated transendothelial migration in prostate cancer' British Journal of Cancer DOI: 10.1038/bjc. 2014.99

Related Stories

New imaging approach fast tracks drug testing for incurable prostate cancer

March 17, 2014
Cancer Research UK-funded scientists have developed a new way to test the effectiveness of a drug for prostate cancer that has spread to the bone, which is currently incurable, according to research published in the Journal ...

Study finds prostate cancer tests underestimate disease in half of cases

April 11, 2014
A study published in the British Journal of Cancer suggests that tests to grade and stage prostate cancer underestimated the severity of the disease in half of men whose cancers had been classified as 'slow growing'.

Non-invasive imaging instead of repeated biopsy in active monitoring of prostate cancer

April 6, 2014
Your body's cells have two major interconnected energy sources: the lipid metabolism and the glucose metabolism. Most cancers feed themselves by metabolizing glucose, and thus can be seen in Positron Emission Topography (PET) ...

Vitamin A could prevent the spread of prostate cancer

April 16, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Vitamin A could help treat and prevent the spread of prostate cancer, according to research published today (Monday, April 15th) in Oncogenesis.

Prostate cancer prognosis hope

October 29, 2012
Cancer of the prostate – the most common male cancer in the UK – presents in two distinct ways: a low-risk type, which may never cause any symptoms, and a high-risk form that needs treatment to prevent it spreading to ...

New prostate cancer drugs may not be targeting root cause of disease, scientists warn

January 27, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—New drugs being developed for the treatment of prostate cancer may not be targeting the root cause of the disease, according to research published today (Friday, 24 January 2014) in Cell Death & Differentiation.

Recommended for you

New approach attacks 'undruggable' cancers from the outside in

January 23, 2018
Cancer researchers have made great strides in developing targeted therapies that treat the specific genetic mutations underlying a patient's cancer. However, many of the most common cancer-causing genes are so central to ...

Study: Cells of three advanced cancers die with drug-like compounds that reverse chemo failure

January 23, 2018
Researchers at Southern Methodist University have discovered three drug-like compounds that successfully reverse chemotherapy failure in three of the most commonly aggressive cancers—ovarian, prostate and breast.

'Hijacker' drives cancer in some patients with high-risk neuroblastoma

January 23, 2018
Researchers have identified mechanisms that drive about 10 percent of high-risk neuroblastoma cases and have used a new approach to show how the cancer genome "hijacks" DNA that regulates other genes. The resulting insights ...

Enzyme inhibitor combined with chemotherapy delays glioblastoma growth

January 23, 2018
In animal experiments, a human-derived glioblastoma significantly regressed when treated with the combination of an experimental enzyme inhibitor and the standard glioblastoma chemotherapy drug, temozolomide.

Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant

January 23, 2018
A study headed by ICREA researcher Roger Gomis at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has identified the genes involved in the latent asymptomatic state of breast cancer metastases. The work sheds light ...

Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells

January 22, 2018
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors. The study is published in Nature Methods.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.