Breast cancer cells use unexpected mechanism to suck up fats

( — The link between high-fat diets, obesity, and cancer has grown stronger over the past several years. Yet, the underlying molecular mechanisms have been slow to surface.

Now, investigators from Dartmouth College and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center set out to understand how fat from the diet might influence breast cancer (BC) cells. Interestingly, the researchers found that in addition to making new fat to fuel proliferation, breast cancer cells can take up large quantities of fat derived from the lipid-rich particles that circulate in the bloodstream.

Findings from the new study—published recently in the Journal of Lipid Research through an article titled “Endocytosis of very low-density lipoproteins: an unexpected mechanism for lipid acquisition by breast cancer cells”—showed that particles bind to the breast cancer cell surface and are then taken into the cell by a novel mechanism not previously described in cancer cells.

This uptake provides a large supply of the fat that drives the proliferation of the cancer cells. (…)

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