Ohio State Uni Logo Glioblastoma is a brain tumor that is strikingly common and fatal. More recently, a research conducted by experts from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center has put forth that impeding cancer cells’ exposure to cholesterol may reveal new avenues to treat glioblastoma.

The analysts believe that the treatment could be helpful for tumors which have a hyperactive P13K signaling pathway that is a usual phenomenon. They found that this pathway is apparently associated to cholesterol metabolism and if it is blocked, it could kill glioblastoma cells, as shown in an animal prototype.

First author and researcher Dr. Deliang Guo, assistant professor of radiation oncology at the OSUCCC – James cited, “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.”

The revelation basically suggests the development of drugs that will strike this pathway without any other harmful effects. Glioblastomas are one of the most treatment-resistant cancers and hence necessitate possible remedies soon.

The research constituted tumor-cell lines, human cells and an animal specimen. The results showed that in almost 50% of gliobastomas, a mutation known as EGFRvlll seemingly energizes the PI3K signaling pathway and a master transcriptional regulator namely SREBP-1.

It this pathway is activated, it seems to regulate the LDL receptor and enhances LDL absorption allowing cancerous cells to take large proportions of cholesterol boosting tumor-cell development and progress.

If the nuclear Liver X Receptor is pharmacologically activated, it appears to result in the loss of LDL receptors and the upregulation of ABCA1 protein pump. This seems to transfer cholesterol away from the malignant cells. Cumulatively, these reactions could make the tumor cells starved of cholesterol that ultimately causes their death.

Since the activation of this pathway is found in many other types of cancer too, the findings hold good for those as well. The research is published in the journal Cancer Discovery.