High levels of a cholesterol metabolite are associated with increased thyroid cancer

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Researchers from CIBER-BBN and CIBERDEM have shown that one of the main metabolites of cholesterol, 27-hydroxycholesterol (27HC), increases the growth and spread of epithelial thyroid cancer, the most common. In this way, human tumor cells develop more rapidly in cultures containing cholesterol than in their absence, due to their subsequent transformation in 27HC inside the tumor cell. The research has been corroborated in human thyroid epithelial cancer tissues, observing a direct association between the aggressiveness of the tumor and a reduction in the main enzyme that eliminates the 27HC molecule, CYP7B1.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, has been carried out by researchers from the Sant Pau Institute of Research (IIB Sant Pau) and CIBER, led by Eugenia Mato of the Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition Research Group and Joan Carles Escolà-Gil of the Bases Research Group Metabolic of Cardiovascular Risk. In their opinion, “thyroid cancer tumors, because they have a reduction in the enzyme to eliminate 27HC, are generating a molecule that promotes tumor growth.”

On the other hand, Giovanna Revilla, first signatory of the work and researcher who does the doctoral thesis at the Institut de Recerca de Sant Pau, considers that “the reduction of cholesterol through changes in dietary habits or through drugs could reduce the risk of cancer. thyroid”. In addition, “a drug that activates the CYP7B1 enzyme could help prevent or, at least, treat this disease.”

The researchers who led this study belong to the CIBER of Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) and the CIBER of Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Diseases (CIBERDEM). Researchers Rosa Corcoy, Cintia González and Alberto de Leiva of the Research Group of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition of the IIB Sant Pau and members of the Endocrinology Service of the Hospital of Santa Creu i Sant Pau and the CIBER-BBN have also participated. ; Enrique Lerma and Victoria Fuste of the Pathological Anatomy Service of the same Hospital; Antonio Moral and José Ignacio Pérez from the Department of General and Digestive Surgery, also from Sant Pau; Mònica de Pablo Pons, Annabel García-León, David Santos, Gerard Sabé and R. Mª Blanco, of the Institut de Recerca de Sant Pau; Lucía Baila-Rueda and Ana Cenarro from CIBERCV and the Health Research Institute Aragón and Marcelo Magalhaes; and Manuel dos Santos Faria of the Hospital of the Federal University of Maranhão, in Brazil.

Reference article: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46727-2


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