There is a difference between negative and positive cholesterol but even good cholesterol (HDL) can have a negative side effect as evidenced by the study that demonstrates that high levels of good cholesterol can increase the risk and aggressive nature of breast cancer in women.
A team of scientists led by Philippe Frank, Ph.D., a cancer biologist in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Thomas Jefferson University, have shown that a High density lipoprotein (HDL) receptor that is prevalent on breast cancer cells may be responsible for this effect. The research was published in the journal of Cancer Breast research.
“If we can block the activity of the HDL receptor in breast cancer, we may be able to limit the harmful effects of HDL, while maintaining levels that are beneficial for blood vessels,” says Dr. Frank.
Dr. Frank and his team re-created a metastases breast cancer model by using breast cancer cell lines and exposing these lines to high levels of HDL. The end result reflects that signaling pathways involved in the progressive development of cancer were activated and mimicked the stages that lead to cancer metastasis. In order to pinpoint the function of the HDL receptor, the team used silencing RNA to inhibit the receptor’s levels. As a result the activities of the signaling pathway that promoted cancer development were substantially reduced and cells with fewer HDL receptors revealed reduced replication rates and migratory abilities than cells with normal HDL receptors.
Christiane Danilo, Jorge L Gutierrez-Pajares, Maria Antonietta Mainieri, Isabelle Mercier, Michael P Lisanti, Philippe G Frank. Scavenger receptor class B type I regulates cellular cholesterol metabolism and cell signaling associated with breast cancer development. Breast Cancer Research, 2013; 15 (5): R87 DOI: 10.1186/bcr3483