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Cancer: Tumors absorb sugar for mobility
Date:7/28/2014

Lung tumor cells produce widely varying amounts of GLUT3. This is because the gene is itself regulated by an element called ZEB1, and the amount of the latter is a function of many causes.

These variations in the amounts of GLUT3 seem to be a strong indicator of the aggressiveness of the tumor. By analyzing data from 450 patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, researchers were able to show that the larger the quantity of GLUT3, the lower the chances of survival.

Patients were diagnosed relatively early and were followed for several years. Depending on whether they produced high or low amounts of GLUT3, their survival rates over seven years spanned almost 20%. "Our data don't permit us to conclude that the mechanism promotes metastasis, but it reinforces the assumption," says Mark Masin.

The discovery identifies a potential target for future medications. Etienne Meylan imagines, for example, a toxic molecule that could be specifically incorporated by GLUT3 to destroy the cell from within. "Protected by the blood-brain barrier, neurons that also produce GLUT3 would not be affected," says the researcher.


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Contact: Lionel Pousaz
lionel.pousaz@epfl.ch
41-795-597-161
Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne
Source:Eurekalert

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