Editors' ChoiceCancer

Cholesterol and Cancer

Sci. Signal.  03 Dec 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 304, pp. ec292
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004958

Obesity and high cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Nelson et al. found that a specific metabolite of cholesterol, 27-hydroxycholesterol (27HC), promoted tumor growth and metastasis in mouse models of mammary cancer by serving as a partial agonist for the estrogen receptor and the liver X receptor. The most aggressive human breast cancers were found to express the highest level of the enzyme that converts cholesterol to 27HC, suggesting that 27HC produced within tumors (in addition to circulating 27HC) may contribute to tumorigenesis.

E. R. Nelson, S. E. Wardell, J. S. Jasper, S. Park, S. Suchindran, M. K. Howe, N. J. Carver, R. V. Pillai, P. M. Sullivan, V. Sondhi, M. Umetani, J. Geradts, D. P. McDonnell, 27-Hydroxycholesterol links hypercholesterolemia and breast cancer pathophysiology. Science 342, 1094–1098 (2013). [Abstract][Full Text]

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