Researchers in MIP Explore Link Between Ovarian Cancer and Cholesterol

The ovarian cancer study research team from left to right: Varsha Vembar, Sisi He, Joy Chen, and Assistant Professor Erik Nelson.

Led by Sisi He from the Erik Nelson lab, researchers have found that a metabolite of cholesterol (27-hydroxycholesterol; 27HC) was essential for the growth of ovarian tumors in mice. Paradoxically, 27HC seemed to inhibit the growth of ovarian cancer cells when grown in a dish. They subsequently found that the enzyme required for the synthesis of 27HC has to be expressed in myeloid immune cells in order for ovarian tumors to thrive in vivo. This work highlights the importance of cholesterol metabolism in the tumor microenvironment, and also reveals a potential novel therapeutic target: CYP27A1 (the enzyme that makes 27HC) in myeloid immune cells.

MIP graduate student Sisi He was the primary author of the paper “Host CYP27A1 expression is essential for ovarian cancer progression”, found at go.illinois.edu/CYP27A1. MCB graduate students Liqian Ma and Adam Nelson were co-authors, as were MCB undergraduate students Varsha Vembar and Anna Vardanyan.

Read the full article.

July 31, 2019 All News