Potential cholesterol-lowering drug molecule has prostate cancer fighting capabilities

April 14, 2016, University of Missouri-Columbia

Standard treatment for prostate cancer can include chemotherapy that targets receptors on cancer cells. However, drug-resistant cancer cells can emerge during chemotherapy, limiting its effectiveness as a cancer-fighting agent. Researchers at the University of Missouri have proven that a compound initially developed as a cholesterol-fighting molecule not only halts the progression of prostate cancer, but also can kill cancerous cells.

"Cholesterol is a molecule found in animal cells that serves as a structural component of cell membranes. When tumor cells grow, they synthesize more cholesterol," said Salman Hyder, the Zalk Endowed Professor in Tumor Angiogenesis and professor of biomedical sciences in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center. "Often, cancer patients are treated with toxic chemotherapies; however, in our study, we focused on reducing the production of cholesterol in , which could kill cancer cells and reduce the need for toxic chemotherapy."

Currently, treatment for primary prostate cancer includes systemic exposure to chemotherapeutic drugs that target androgen receptors located in the cancer cells, which normally bind with hormones such as testosterone. Anti-hormone therapies, or chemical castration, also may be used in the fight against prostate cancer.

"Although tumor cells may initially respond to these therapies, most eventually develop resistance that causes to grow and spread," Hyder said. "Cholesterol also can contribute to the development of anti-hormone resistance because cholesterol is converted into hormones in ; therefore, these cholesterol-forming pathways are attractive therapeutic targets for the treatment of prostate cancer."

Using a compound developed by Roche Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of high cholesterol called RO 48-8071, Hyder and his team administered the molecule to human prostate cancer cells. They found that the compound was effective in reducing human prostate cancer cell growth. Subsequent studies also found that the compound caused cancer cell death.

Armed with this information, Hyder and the team then tested the results in mice with human prostate cancer cells. Following injection of the compound, Hyder found that the molecule was effective in reducing tumor growth.

These findings suggest that the potential cholesterol drug, when used in combination with commonly used , could represent a new therapeutic approach in the fight against , Hyder said.

Explore further: Potential cholesterol lowering drug has breast cancer fighting capabilities

More information: The study, "Cholesterol biosynthesis inhibitor RO 48-8071 suppresses growth of hormone-dependent and castration-resistant prostate cancer cells," has been accepted for publication in the journal OncoTargets and Therapy.

Related Stories

Potential cholesterol lowering drug has breast cancer fighting capabilities

June 17, 2014
Researchers at the University of Missouri have proven that a compound initially developed as a cholesterol-fighting molecule not only halts the progression of breast cancer, but also can kill the cancerous cells.

Common prostate cancer treatments suppress immune response and may promote relapse

April 8, 2016
Prostate cancer patients and their doctors may want to think twice about the best timing for chemotherapy or radiation therapy in conjunction with a common nonsurgical treatment, based on international research findings led ...

New target makes end run against therapy-resistant prostate cancer

March 28, 2016
Researchers at UC Davis, in collaboration with the other institutions, have found that suppressing the nuclear receptor protein ROR-γ with small-molecule compounds can reduce androgen receptor (AR) levels in castration-resistant ...

A new class of drug slows growth of castration-resistant prostate cancer cells

January 29, 2016
A first-in-class sphingosine kinase 2 inhibitor slowed the growth of castration-resistant prostate cancer cells, in part by inhibiting the enzyme dihydroceramide desaturase (DEGS), but did not kill them, according to the ...

Men could be spared unnecessary treatment for prostate cancer with new detection method

April 6, 2016
Researchers are working to find a way to determine how serious prostate cancer is when first diagnosed to avoid unnecessary treatments, which can cause life long side effects and even death.

Recommended for you

A protein called vaccinia-related kinase 1 may help cancer establish itself in new areas of the body during metastasis

September 25, 2018
Sometimes negative results can point researchers in the right direction.

Method identified to reduce risk of brain damage in leukemia survivors

September 25, 2018
Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are at an extremely high risk of sepsis compared to the general population. In the first-published study of its kind, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have ...

Unhealthy lifestyle responsible for 45,000 predicted cases of bowel cancer in next decade

September 25, 2018
A UNSW study shows that a large proportion of bowel cancers in Australia are preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle – particularly for men.

Fusion hybrids: A newly discovered population of tumor cells

September 24, 2018
In a recent study published in Science Advances, Charles E. Gast and co-workers detail the spontaneous process of cancer cell fusion with white blood cells to produce heterogenous hybrid clones in multiple biological systems, ...

DNA vaccine leads to immune responses in HPV-related head and neck cancer

September 21, 2018
A therapeutic vaccine can boost antibodies and T cells, helping them infiltrate tumors and fight off human papillomavirus (HPV)-related head and neck cancer. Researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of ...

In zebrafish, a way to find new cancer therapies, targeting tumor modulators

September 21, 2018
The lab of Leonard Zon, MD, at Boston Children's Hospital has long been interested in making blood stem cells in quantity for therapeutic purposes. Looking for a way to test for their presence in zebrafish, their go-to research ...

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.