Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer: Tumors absorb sugar for mobility

Date:
July 29, 2014
Source:
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Summary:
Researchers were able to demonstrate that appetite for sugar and 'mesenchymal behavior' result from the same mechanism. They also showed that the intensity of the phenomenon significantly influenced the chances of patient survival. This discovery opens up new potential targets for future therapies.

Some cancer cells are characterized by both high sugar intake and high mobility. Researchers at EPFL show that these two phenomena are related.

Related Articles


Cancer cells are gluttons. We have long known that they monopolize large amounts of sugar. More recently, it became clear that some tumor cells are also characterized by a series of features such as mobility or unlikeliness to join in an ordered set. Researchers are calling this behavior "mesenchymal," and they suspect it promotes metastasis.

At EPFL, Etienne Meylan's research team was able to demonstrate that the two observations -- appetite for sugar and mesenchymal behavior -- result from the same mechanism, at least in "non-small cell lung cancer." They also showed that the intensity of the phenomenon significantly influenced the chances of patient survival. Published in Cancer & Metabolism, this discovery opens up new potential targets for future therapies.

A useful mechanism, but put to work by cancer

Mesenchymal behavior is not in itself an anomaly. During embryonic development, some cells acquire these characteristics. In adults, a few cells retain this disposition.

"Mesenchymal behavior is a quite useful feature, but is abnormally reactivated in non-small cell lung cancer, which we studied," says Etienne Meylan.

The mesenchymal cancer cells studied by the researchers produce a protein called GLUT3. The latter serves the function of capturing glucose to activate various growth processes. This is the protein responsible for meeting the cell's need for sugar.

By artificially inducing mesenchymal behavior in cancer cells, the researchers found that the cells spontaneously produced GLUT3. This observation clearly shows that the same mechanism is at work. "This shift from one behavior to another, called epithelial-mesenchymal transition, is a highly debated issue. We have clearly established a cause and effect relationship between this transition and the glucose consumption of cancer cells," explains Mark Masin, lead author and PhD student at EPFL.

A case study confirms the results

Lung tumor cells produce widely varying amounts of GLUT3. This is because the gene is itself regulated by an element called ZEB1, and the amount of the latter is a function of many causes.

These variations in the amounts of GLUT3 seem to be a strong indicator of the aggressiveness of the tumor. By analyzing data from 450 patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, researchers were able to show that the larger the quantity of GLUT3, the lower the chances of survival.

Patients were diagnosed relatively early and were followed for several years. Depending on whether they produced high or low amounts of GLUT3, their survival rates over seven years spanned almost 20%. "Our data don't permit us to conclude that the mechanism promotes metastasis, but it reinforces the assumption," says Mark Masin.

The discovery identifies a potential target for future medications. Etienne Meylan imagines, for example, a toxic molecule that could be specifically incorporated by GLUT3 to destroy the cell from within. "Protected by the blood-brain barrier, neurons that also produce GLUT3 would not be affected," says the researcher.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mark Masin, Jessica Vazquez, Simona Rossi, Svenja Groeneveld, Natasha Samson, Petra C Schwalie, Bart Deplancke, Laura E Frawley, Jérôme Gouttenoire, Darius Moradpour, Trudy G Oliver, Etienne Meylan. GLUT3 is induced during epithelial-mesenchymal transition and promotes tumor cell proliferation in non-small cell lung cancer. Cancer & Metabolism, 2014; 2 (1): 11 DOI: 10.1186/2049-3002-2-11

Cite This Page:

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "Cancer: Tumors absorb sugar for mobility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729073718.htm>.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. (2014, July 29). Cancer: Tumors absorb sugar for mobility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729073718.htm
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "Cancer: Tumors absorb sugar for mobility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729073718.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins