A study published in the journal, Cell Reports, states that controlling bad cholesterol may help in reducing the growth of cancer cells. Researchers from the University of Alberta, Canada and Medical University of Graz, Austria have found that tumours use lipids from cholesterol as building blocks to grow.
The study revealed how tumour cells scavenge very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL) – both bad cholesterols, to grow. The bad cholesterol binds to LDL receptors in the liver, the organ responsible for degrading and excreting it as bile. Further it was revealed that tumours can regulate their host’s lipid metabolism to increase production of these lipids. “The tumour signals to the liver on the need for more cholesterol for growth and the liver is reprogrammed to secrete those lipids,” said Richard Lehner, from the University of Alberta.
“Cancer cells need lipids to grow. They can make their own lipids or get more from the host because these cells grow so fast,” added Lehner. One of the major factors in this process is proteins, which in large quantities may decrease the amount of LDL receptors to excrete the cholesterol. The cancer cells thus breeds on the left behind cholesterol.