Cancer cells ’load up’ with fat to spread

Cancer cells ’load up’ with fat to spread

Professor Olivier Feron, a researcher at Belgium’s University of Louvain has shown that cancer cells load up on lipids and this makes them become more aggressive and spread more. Louvain has identified a ‘switch’ called TGF-beta2.This switch both loads  up the cancer cell with lipids and  also turns it on to become more aggressive.

At CANCERactive we have previous covered a raft of research studies each showing that people on a low fat diet survive longer with specific cancers -  such as breast, prostate, lung and colorectal cancer. For example:

Go to: Low fat diet increases breast cancer survival.

We have also covered research that people who have high levels of blood fat have more metastases and lowered survival. We have covered how blood fat-reducing lycopene can increase survival as can a statin such as atorvastatin.

Professor Feron has shown (1) that acidity in cancer cells allowed them to pick up fat droplets, which they could use as energy stores for their long journey to distant parts of the body. His team are now looking at blockers of TGF-beta2, of fats and of triglycerides.

Go to: Saturated fat helps cancer spread

In 2016, researchers from Spain found (2) a marker or receptor, CD-36, which is more prevant in about 10% of cancer cells. This marker picked up lipids, and these cells were the ones that spread.  The researchers stated that this marker was the first identified marker of a metastatic cancer cell. They too concluded that blood lipid levels - cholesterol and triglycerides - were linked to metastasis. 

Go to: Metastasis increases the higher your blood fat levels

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  1. Corbet, et al. (2020) TGFβ2-induced formation of lipid droplets supports acidosis-driven EMT and the metastatic spreading of cancer cells. Nat Commun. DOI:


  Approved by the Medical Board. Click Here 


2020 Research
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