Cholesterol unlocks clues to prostate cancer spread

April 17, 2014

(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

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

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.