Human DECR1 is an androgen-repressed survival factor that regulates PUFA oxidation to protect prostate tumor cells from ferroptosis.

Journal: eLife

Published: 2020-07-20

DOI: 10.7554/elife.54166

Affiliations: 17

Authors: 18

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Research Highlight

Fat attack on prostate cancer

© jamesbenet/E+/Getty Images

© jamesbenet/E+/Getty Images

Depriving prostate cancer cells of a fat-metabolizing enzyme they need to survive causes the tumours to become overloaded with fat and die.

The most prevalent male cancer, prostate cancer is the second highest cause of cancer deaths in men in Western countries.

Now, a team led by researchers at the University of Adelaide in South Australia has discovered a therapeutic strategy that could lead to new treatment options for men with this cancer.

The researchers showed that DECR1, an enzyme involved the breakdown of fatty acids, is highly expressed in prostate cancer cells. Blocking this enzyme proved deadly to the cancers for two reasons: it starved the cells of a critical fuel source, and it spurred fat accumulation to toxic levels.

Drugs targeting a related enzyme in the same signalling pathway as DECR1 are already used to treat cardiovascular disease. Those same agents could now be repurposed as anti-cancer therapies, the researchers propose.

Supported content

  1. eLife 9, e54166 (2020). doi: 10.7554/eLife.54166
Institutions Share
The University of Adelaide (Adelaide Uni), Australia 0.32
South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Australia 0.19
La Trobe School of Cancer Medicine, Australia 0.11
The University of Sydney (USYD), Australia 0.10
University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), Australia 0.07
University Hospitals Leuven (UZ Leuven), Belgium 0.06
Biomedical Sciences Group, KU Leuven, Belgium 0.06
Flinders University, Australia 0.04
Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology, Australia 0.03
Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Australia 0.02