Study: Newly discovered enzyme improves the treatment options for some cancer diseases

Study: Newly discovered enzyme improves the treatment options for some cancer diseases

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Breakthrough in cancer treatment achieved?

Researchers have now identified an enzyme that is involved in the reshaping of the plasma membrane of several cancer cell types and is of crucial importance both for the survival of tumors and for their uncontrolled growth. This discovery suggests a potential target for novel drugs to treat cancer.

The current study by the University of California found that a certain enzyme is important for the survival of tumors and also for their uncontrolled growth. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Cell Metabolism".

What role does LPCAT1 play in cancer?

Cancers are characterized not only by major changes in their genome, but also by profound changes in the way they absorb and use nutrients to drive rapid tumor growth, the authors explain. The researchers wanted to find out how exactly these different aspects fit together and how they can be used for the benefit of the patient. In the new study, the researchers identified an enzyme called LPCAT1, the level of which rises in cancer and which plays a key role in tumor growth. Because it changes the phospholipid composition of the plasma membrane of the cancer cells, which stimulates tumor growth.

Removal of LPCAT1 shrunk malignancies

The tumors cannot survive without LPCAT1. When researchers genetically removed LPCAT1 from mice with various types of cancer, including glioblastomas and some form of aggressive lung cancer, the malignancies shrank dramatically and survival improved. The results show that LPCAT1 is an important enzyme that is dysregulated in cancer and that links frequent genetic changes in tumors with changes in their metabolism to promote aggressive tumor growth, the research team explains.

Improved cancer treatment through new results?

Advances in DNA sequencing in particular have changed the understanding of the molecular basis of cancer and paved the way for new and more effective methods of cancer therapy. The enzyme now discovered could also open up new treatment options in the future. (as)

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Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Junfeng Bi, Taka-Aki Ichu, Ciro Zanca, Frank B. Furnari, Benjamin F. Cravatt et al .: Oncogene Amplification in Growth Factor Signaling Pathways Renders Cancers Dependent on Membrane Lipid Remodeling, in Cell Metabolism (query: July 12, 2019), Cell metabolism

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