A critical focus of the research is the analysis of individual lipid droplets inside single cells. Purdue researchers have developed an analytical tool called Raman spectromicroscopy that allows compositional analysis of single lipid droplets in living cells and mice.
"It is conceivable that cancer cells require reservoirs for lipids, namely lipid droplets. However, our imaging data revealed an unexpected, aberrant accumulation of esterified cholesterol in lipid droplets of high-grade prostate cancer and metastases," Cheng said.
The researchers learned that cholesteryl ester accumulation, which occurs only in advanced prostate cancer and its metastasis, results from the loss of a tumor-suppressing gene called PTEN and the activation of an intracellular metabolic pathway promoting tumor growth.
"These findings improve current understanding of the role of cholesterol in cancer and also suggest new opportunities for the diagnosis and treatment of aggressive prostate cancer. We have been pleased to be able to collaborate with Dr. Cheng on his important research" said Michael Koch, John P. Donohue Professor of Urology and chair of the Department of Urology at IU School of Medicine.
Findings show the drugs avasimibe and Sandoz 58-035 reduced the accumulation of cholesteryl ester and significantly hindered advanced prostate cancer growth in laboratory cell cultures and xenograft mouse models. These drugs did not show toxicity to animals.
"We note that avasimibe, Sandoz 58-035 and a class of similar drugs were developed to treat atherosclerosis, but the clinical trials were halted due to the lack of effectiveness in reducing plaque size," Cheng said. "The present study highlights a novel use of these drugs to treat advanced prostate cancer."
|Contact: Emil Venere|