Nav: Home

Researchers find epigenetic loss that changes how cells obtain energy from cancer

March 14, 2019

It has been known for decades that cancer cells have an altered metabolism and it is seen in several biochemical pathways and in particular, in the way they get energy for their survival.

If healthy cells use the mitochondrial respiratory chain, tumors use aerobic glycolysis, a process that allows them taking energy quickly but depending on glucose. This phenomenon -known as the Warburg effect- is caused by several changes that take place during cell transformation.

Now, a new article describes an epigenetic injury found in human tumours which created this altered path to take energy from the cancer. The study, published in Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight, is a new research carried out by the group led by Manel Esteller, professor of Genetics of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Barcelona (UB), ICREA researcher, coordinator of the Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program at IDIBELL, and director of the Josep Carreras Institute.

According to Professor Esteller, who led the new scientific study, "we found squamous tumors -in the head, neck, esophagus and cervix- show activity loss of the SVIP gen, which prevents deterioration of proteins that are important for cell balance. The fault in the SVIP gene function causes the destruction of the metabolic mechanisms that allow glucose's physiologic use to get energy in a controlled way, and which is finally replaced by a kind of molecular "fast food" that gets cheap energy for the tumor cell".

"We have also seen patients with this metabolic change that show a shorter survival over the course of their disease", continues Manel Esteller. "However, cancer cells' addiction to glucose could be their weakness. Therefore, pre-clinical studies show that patients with the epigenetic loss of the SVIP gene are sensitive to drugs against glucose receptor, which block the entrance of this molecule and cause a kind of 'abstinence syndrome' of the tumor that holds their growth back".
-end-
Participants in the new study, with its main authors being Pere Llinàs Arias and Margalida Rosselló Tortella (IDIBELL), are the experts Marta Cascante and Sílvia Marín, from the Faculty of Biology of the UB, the Institute of Biomedicine of the UB (IBUB) and the Liver and Digestive Diseases Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBEREHD); Antonio Zorzano, from the Faculty of Biology of the UB, the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), and the Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Diseases Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERDEM), and Juan P. Muñoz (Faculty of Biology of the UB, IRB Barcelona and CIBERDEM, among others).

University of Barcelona

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
New analytical technology to quantify anti-cancer drugs inside cancer cells
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Cancer expert says public health and prevention measures are key to defeating cancer
Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer?
UI Cancer Center, Governors State to address cancer disparities in south suburbs
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs.
Leading cancer research organizations to host international cancer immunotherapy conference
The Cancer Research Institute, the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, and the American Association for Cancer Research will join forces to sponsor the first International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, Sept.

Related Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...