Activation of lipid metabolism is an early event in carcinogenesis and a
central hallmark of many cancers. However, the precise molecular composition
of lipids in tumours remains generally poorly characterised. Scientists from
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Charité Hospital have found
lipids in tumours which are associated with cancer progression.
A new study performed by Matej Orešič and colleagues from the VTT Technical
Research Centre of Finland in collaboration with the team of Carsten Denkert
(Institute of Pathology, Charité Hospital, Berlin, Germany) in the European
consortium METAcancer reveals specific lipids found in tumours associated with
cancer progression and patient survival. These findings, which were published
in Cancer Research, might be an important step towards the development of
personalised cancer therapeutics.
The team used lipidomics, a
high-throughput method for detecting molecular lipids, to analyse a large
number of breast tumour tissues. Specific phospholipids related to cellular
fatty acid synthesis were associated with cancer progression and patient
survival. Follow-up in vitro studies, including gene silencing, identified
several lipid metabolism genes behind the observed lipid changes in tumours.
findings imply that phospholipids may have diagnostic potential, and that
modulation of their metabolism may provide new therapeutic opportunities in
breast cancer treatment.
The research leading to these
results has received funding from the European Commission's 7th RTD Framework
Programme (Collaborative Project no. HEALTH-F2-2008-200327).
Hilvo, C. Denkert, L. Lehtinen, B. Müller, S. Brockmöller, T. Seppänen-Laakso,
J. Budczies, E. Bucher, L. Yetukuri, S. Castillo, E. Berg, H. Nygren, M.
Sysi-Aho, J. L. Griffin, O. Fiehn, S. Loibl, C. Richter-Ehrenstein, C. Radke,
T. Hyötyläinen, O. Kallioniemi, K. Iljin, M. Orešič, Novel
theranostic opportunities offered by characterization of altered membrane
lipid metabolism in breast cancer progression, Cancer Res. (2011). doi: