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Starving cancer cells of cholesterol might offer a new way to treat brain tumors
Date:9/15/2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio A new study suggests that blocking cancer cells' access to cholesterol may offer a new strategy for treating glioblastoma, the most common and deadly form of brain cancer, and perhaps other malignancies. The potential treatment could be appropriate for tumors with a hyperactive PI3K signaling pathway, which accounts for up to 90 percent of glioblastomas cases.

Researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC James) and at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center who led the study discovered that the hyperactive signaling pathway is linked to cholesterol metabolism, and that inhibiting this pathway leads to the death of glioblastoma cells in an animal model.

he findings are published in the journal Cancer Discovery.

"Our research shows that the tumor cells depend on large amounts of cholesterol for growth and survival, and that pharmacologically depriving tumor cells of cholesterol may offer a novel therapeutic strategy to treat glioblastoma," says first author and researcher Dr. Deliang Guo, assistant professor of radiation oncology at the OSUCCC James.

"This study uncovers a mechanism that links a common oncogene with altered cell metabolism, and it potentially offers a strategy for blocking that mechanism and causing specific tumor-cell death without significant toxicity," says principal investigator Dr. Paul S. Mischel, professor of pathology at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and an adjunct professor of radiation oncology at the OSUCCC James.

"Overall, our findings suggest that the development of drugs to target this pathway may lead to significantly more effective treatments for patients with this lethal form of brain cancer."

Glioblastomas strike about 18,500 Americans annually and kill nearly 13,000 of them. Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common and lethal form of the malignancy, with an average surv
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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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