Breast cancer cells grow thanks to particles of edible fat in the blood

Breast cancer is a very debilitating disease for women. According to figures from the League against cancer, more than 54,000 women are affected each year and almost one in nine women will face it in their lifetime In the latest study at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Dartmouth (USA), the researchers demonstrated the potential to help scientists develop a better therapeutic approach, in order to target what serves as fuel for breast cancer cells.

Researchers have discovered that fat particles from the bloodstream enter breast cancer cells through a mechanism that increases the risk of cancer in people who eat a high-fat diet and suffer from obesity, even making it worse. patient outcomes and prognosis. The results of their study appeared in the Journal of Lipid Research.

A new mechanism brought to light

The research team, led by William Kinlaw III, professor of medicine emeritus at the Dartmouth and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, hopes to better understand how fat from the diet can influence breast cancer cells.

Thanks to this study, the researchers understood that the fat present in the bloodstream is used by cancer cells to fuel their proliferation. Particles rich in lipids circulating in the blood can be consumed in large quantities by breast cancer cells. These fat particles in the blood attach to the surface of the breast cancer cell through a mechanism that has never been described before.

William Kinlaw III explains his discovery: “We have already shown that fatty particles in the blood can increase the growth of breast cancer cells, but this new work shows that breast cancer cells can swallow large amounts of preformed fat from the breast. blood using an unexpected mechanism for absorbing fat particles called ‘lipoprotein endocytosis’. ”

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Blood fat as an energy store

According to him, breast cancer cells take advantage of lipids in the blood as a “free lunch”, which results in metabolic reprogramming of the cells. This study therefore reveals the direct link between dietary fat and the cell biology of cancer.

Researchers believe that new therapies could be developed by focusing on the fat made by cancer cells as the target area. While many academic and pharmaceutical efforts are underway to target the synthesis of new fats by cancer cells, the study shows that breast cancer cells can escape drugs that inhibit lipid synthesis by simply taking more exogenous fat particles.

The team now plans to publish in detail the biological influence of high-fat diets on breast cancer in vivo, using mouse models.

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