How does high cholesterol cause cancer? Study sheds light

New research from the University of California, Los Angeles has found a previously unknown molecular mechanism involving cholesterol that may promote tumor growth in the intestines.
 A report on the study — published in the journal Cell Stem Cell — reveals how increasing levels of cholesterol in mice increased proliferation of intestinal stem cells and made tumors grow faster. One of the methods that the researchers used to increase the availability of cholesterol to intestinal cells in the mice was to feed them a high-cholesterol diet.

“We were excited to find,” says senior author Peter Tontonoz, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, “that cholesterol influences the growth of stem cells in the intestines, which in turn accelerates the rate of tumor formation by more than 100-fold.”

 

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