Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in American men, so any development that sheds light on the condition is big news. And new research indicates there could be a method to stopping the spread of aggressive prostate cancer coming soon.
Cholesterol levels and overall health often go hand in hand. The higher a person’s cholesterol, the more likely they are to be at risk for hypertension, certain cancers, and other metabolic conditions. This is especially true if low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol levels are high.
A new study is showing that tumor cells absorb a lot of LDL cholesterol, which in turn leads to cancer cell proliferation in the body. Doctors believe they may have found the key to blocking LDL cholesterol from passing in and out of tumor cells.
Cholesterol is found in all your cells and transported through your bloodstream. When it reaches your cells it’s refined and distributed inside the cell to add function. When this happens, a compound called cholestryl ester is created. This compound seems to be the key in blocking the spread of prostate cancer. If this compound is reduced, prostate cancer—and other cancers, most likely—could be stopped in its tracks when they begin to spread aggressively.
Doctors discovered this when they were testing harvested cancer cells from prostate cancer patients, mice, and specialized cell lines. They introduced cholesterol medication to the cells and noticed as cholesteryl esters dissipated, cancer stopped spreading. This indicates two very important things.
Stopping the Spread of Cancer
The first is that lower cholesterol, in theory, would lead to a lower risk of cancer spreading aggressively throughout the body. The second is that taking cholesterol medication could be an effective treatment for prostate cancer—and potentially other forms of the disease. Now if you are someone who is against treatment by taking pills, let me try to show you why this is such an important development.
Most forms of cancer treatment don’t attack cancer specifically. Instead, they kill everything. They kill cancerous and healthy cells in the body, which is why most cancer treatments are so rigorous, and make patients weak and put their immune system at risk. By having a pill that stops a process that specifically adds to cancer growth, doctors can treat the disease without harming healthy cells.
Researchers have noted the effectiveness of blocking and lowering cholesteryl esters, but admit there is still more research on the horizon. The work should be replicated in human trials, but results look promising. The study came from a team at Purdue University in the United States.
Lowering your cholesterol is always something that should be considered when trying to improve your overall health. The key to lowering cholesterol is eating foods with healthy fats, having a diet high in fiber and low in processed foods. Foods from these camps will increase your good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, while lowering bad LDL cholesterol and overall cholesterol in your blood. To learn your current cholesterol levels, schedule a blood test with your doctor.
“Cholesterol Study Suggests New Diagnostic, Treatment Approach for Prostate Cancer,” Science Daily web site, March 4, 2014; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304154633.htm, last accessed March 11, 2014.