Researchers in Melbourne have found that melanoma cells require glucose to grow and spread, a finding that could lead to development of new therapies for treating the deadly skin cancer.
Researchers led by Tiffany Parmenter along with Rodney Hicks and Grant McAurthur at the Peter Peter McCallum Cancer Centre identified a number of patterns in clinical practice and found that tumors that are supported by BRAF genes displayed a particularly high usage of glucose which was turned off when drug therapy was used.
The researchers found that when the glucose supply was turned on before the tumors resumed growing, they developed a resistance to the drug. The researchers conducted a number of experiments, including genetic analysis and cell culture analysis, over a period of three years and found that the cells were addicted to glucose. The researchers added that some of the cells were so dependent on glucose that they would kill themselves when the supply was threatened. The study has been published in the journal Cancer Discovery.
"We found that the cells were 'addicted' to glucose in their need to grow. Some were so addicted, they would kill themselves as soon as the supply was threatened, while others were able to survive", co-author of the study, Professor Rodney Hicks said.