The cholesterol It is a waxy, fat-like substance that It is produced in the liver and it helps in the production of essential hormones and vitamins in the body.. However, in large amounts, cholesterol accumulates in the body to form deposits known as plaques, which block blood vessels. This can result in a heart attack, stroke, or other health problem related. Some research involves high cholesterol levels in some cancersbut scientists did not fully understand how cholesterol can help spread this pathology. Now, however, scientists at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, have proposed an explanation for this process. when studying cholesterol regulation in cancer cells and micethey suggested that the high cholesterol levels they can boost cancer resistance to cell death, which can worsen disease outcomes. These findings revealed a previously undiscovered mechanism through which elevated cholesterol levels influence cancer cells in the body. In this way, they showed that high cholesterol promotes the growth of gynecological and breast cancers estrogen-positive due to cholesterol derivatives acting like estrogen, which stimulates cancer growth. Furthermore, the team observed that cancers that do not depend on estrogen to grow (estrogen negative) are still associated with a disease worse than high cholesterol. This suggests that there is at least one other cancer mechanism of action for high cholesterol, which formed the basis of the study.
High cholesterol levels and immunity to cell death
The researchers carried out their studies using cell lines and mouse models. Thus, the results show that the 27HCwhich is a derivative of cholesterol obtained by oxidation, is implicated in cancers. In animal models, they observed that chronic exposure to 27HC resulted in tumor growth that were highly metastatic, that is, they spread from where they initially formed to other parts of the body. In an interesting twist, they also discovered that 27HC induced metabolic stress in cancer cells, which allowed them to escape a natural cell death processl, called ferroptosis. As a result, this increased tumor-forming ability and metastatic ability of cancer cells. These findings suggest an explanation for the role of cholesterol in the resistance of cancer cells to cell deathwhich stimulates the growth and spread of cancer.
The results of the initial experiments look promising, but it is still too early to tell. confirm the clinical implications of this study. On the one hand, the research team admits that have not yet discovered how resistance to ferroptosis increases the tumor-forming ability and metastatic ability of cancer cellsalthough they intend to extend their research to other types of cancers other than breast and gynecological. What is clear from this study is that the results add up to existing information available on cholesterol and cancer. It also goes a step further by exploring other mechanisms of action of cholesterol in cancer, which in the future may have significant clinical importance.