A compound initially developed as a cholesterol-fighting agent not only halts the progression of prostate cancer, but also can kill cancerous cells, researchers at the University of Missouri have determined.
Standard chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer works by targeting receptors on cancer cells. But drug-resistant cancer cells can outsmart such agents.
The UM researchers were able to get around this problem by using a compound that targets cholesterol in cancerous cells.
“Cholesterol is a molecule found in animal cells that serves as a structural component of cell membranes. When tumor cells grow, they synthesize more cholesterol,” said Salman Hyder, a cancer specialist and professor of biomedical sciences in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center.
“Often, cancer patients are treated with toxic chemotherapies; however, in our study, we focused on reducing the production of cholesterol in cancer cells, which could kill cancer cells and reduce the need for toxic chemotherapy.”
The cholesterol-fighting compound, developed by Roche Pharmaceuticals, is called RO 48-8071. Hyder and his team found that the compound was effective in reducing human prostate cancer cell growth and killing tumors in lab studies and those involving mice with human prostate cancer cells.
The findings suggest that the potential cholesterol drug, when used in combination with commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs, could represent a new therapeutic approach in the fight against prostate cancer, Hyder said.
The research is to be published in the journal OncoTargets and Therapy.
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