A group of scientists at the University of California, USA, identified a mechanism by which cancer cells absorb glucose and draw energy for survival and tumor growth.
At the same time, the content of a specific molecule makes it possible to detect a precancerous condition that causes cell growth, writes the online edition of MedicalXpress.
Experts have found that protein used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus plays an important role in the formation of new tumor formations. According to their data, sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2), which is responsible for the transfer of glucose into the cell, is one of the main suppliers of "food" for cancer cells.
Cancer cells need glucose to survive and grow. Therefore they need a large amount of transport proteins, glucose transporters.
Previous studies have shown that SGLT2 may play an important role in the development of certain types of cancer, including pancreatic and prostate cancer.
Using positron emission tomography, researchers determined the activity of various glucose transporters in cancer cells at different stages of their development. So they found that these cells contain large amounts of SGLT2. According to scientists, this suggests that newly emerging tumors provide carbohydrates primarily via SGLT2 and not through glucose transporters.
By examining their data, the researchers also found that SGLT2 elevation may occur before tumor development, making this specific protein a marker for early detection of the disease.
The discovery of American scientists could have an impact on early methods of cancer prevention.