South Korean researchers discovered a survival mechanism that allows metastatic cancer cell to survive for the first time in the world.
The National Research Foundation of Korea announced on the 21st that the research team led by Professor Yook Jong-in of Yonsei University and Professor Hwang Geum-sook of Korea Basic Science Institute discovered a mechanism of how cancer cells survive and change metabolic pathway during ‘metastasis process’, which is a process where cancer cells spread to other organs from an organ where they were developed first.
Metastatic cancer cells needs to survive under various metabolic stresses, including a short supply of glucose, for metastatic progression. However, the metabolic activity of metastatic cancer cells has been undiscovered.
The research team discovered that the process of cancer cells spreading by attacking nearby organs occurs as cancer cells inhibit metabolism by inhibiting metabolite called phosphofructokinase, platelet (PFKP) through particular protein called “Snail”. Snail regulates aerotropic glycolytic activity via repression of phosphofructokinase, platelet (PFKP) and the suppression of PFKP switches the glucose flux towards the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). By reorganizing the saccharometabolic pathway, cancer cells are able to survive under metabolic stress.
Considering the fact that most deaths from cancer are caused by the spread of cancer, this research is expected to contribute to cancer treatment. Professor Yook Jong-in said, “This is the first research report on metastatic cancer cells inhibiting metabolism in where researches were almost nonexistent. It can be applied to cancer treatments by providing new metabolic therapy target.”
The findings of the research was published on Nature Communications, which is a scientific journal, on February 8.