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Tricky Tumors’ Blood Supply Targeted

Inhibitors may offer new treatment strategy for lung, brain tumors

October 15, 2010 | Melissa Marino

Lung cancer and the brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme are aggressive and notoriously difficult tumors to treat. If the tumors cannot be surgically removed, patients with these tumors typically survive only about one year after diagnosis. Both tumor types are resistant to radiation and are highly angiogenic (have rapidly growing blood vessels). Therefore, anti-angiogenesis therapies may help improve survival in these patients.

Eugenia Yazlovitskaya, Ph.D., and colleagues previously found that cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) – an enzyme involved in the formation of lipid signaling molecules – promotes the proliferation of tumor blood vessels and contributes to cancer progression.

In the Sept. 22 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, they show that inhibiting cPLA2 (genetically and pharmacologically) in mouse models of brain and lung cancer attenuated the development of new blood vessels in these tumors and slowed or halted tumor progression due to down-regulation of the production of bioactive phospholipids. The results suggest that cPLA2 inhibition may be an effective strategy in treating patients with glioblastoma multiforme and lung cancer.

For other research highlights from Vanderbilt University Medical Center laboratories, see ‘Aliquots‘ in the VUMC Reporter.