Cancer cells can when the blood supply is low use lipid molecules as fuel instead of blood glucose. This has been shown in animal tumour models by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden in a study published in Cell Metabolism. The mechanism may help explain why tumours often develop resistance to cancer drugs that inhibit the formation of blood vessels.
Tumour growth and spread rely on angiogenesis, a process of growing new blood vessels that supply the cancer cells with nutrients and hormones, including glucose (sugar). Treatment with antiangiogenic drugs reduces the number of blood vessels in the tumour as well as the blood glucose supply. Many such drugs have been developed and are now used in human patients for treating various cancer types. However, the clinical benefits of antiangiogenic drugs in cancer patients are generally low and the cancers treated often develop a resistance to drugs, especially cancer types that grow close to fat tissues such as breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer and prostate cancers.
In collaboration with Japanese and Chinese scientists, a research group at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has discovered a new mechanism by which cancers can evade antiangiogenic treatment and become resistant.
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