Kidney cancer is among the 10 most prevalent cancers around the world. 70% of kidney cancers include clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) which results from the accumulation of sugar and fat. Dr. Kevin Courtney and his team along with other professors set to investigate how kidney tumors utilize glucose which serves as the main source of energy for most of the tissues.
They used labeled glucose in an intraoperative infusion during a surgery meant to eliminate kidney cancer. It was found that ccRCC use glucose entirely different from other tissues, instead of breaking down glucose via tricarboxylic acid cycle for extracting energy, they stopped short of it, which indicates that they must have some other energy source upon which they survive.
Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis mentions how it has been believed almost for a century that aggressive tumors dwelled on glycoses (partial breakdown of glucose) based upon the observation of their metabolism outside human body. He adds that studying metabolism directly in cancer patients revealed that glycoses is not a universal feature of cell metabolism. Some tumors really do rely on glucose, while other tumors metabolism can be investigated with help of labeled isotopes. ccRCC is unique in this aspect and this is the first study that demonstrates how ccRCC react to glucose as compared to other normal tissue.
The researchers hope to find it as chink in the armor in treating ccRCC. Further studies will be conducted to find out any linked vulnerability in ccRCC tumor metabolic activities. The team aims to use more labeled isotopes in order to pinpoint more vulnerabilities regarding the growth of kidney cancers in order to improvise treatment methods.