COLUMBUS, Ohio — A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) identifies a key pathway used by cancer cells to make the lipids by integrating oncogenic signaling, fuel availability and lipid synthesis to support cell division and rapid tumor growth.
The researchers identified a critical molecule in that pathway that, if blocked, might cripple lipid production by cancer cells and slow tumor growth. This approach would be a new strategy for treating a lethal type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme, as well as other malignancies. This discovery also has significant therapeutic implications on other metabolic disorders with deregulated lipid metabolism, such as atherosclerosis, obesity and diabetes.
The study discovered that activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which triggers enhanced uptake of glucose, leads to a chemical change in a molecule called SCAP. This enables SCAP to transport a second molecule called SREBP, and this leads to the activation of genes that regulate the production and uptake of lipids. SREBPs are key proteins for regulating lipid metabolism.
The researchers published their findings in the journal Cancer Cell Nov. 9, 2015.