Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered a mechanism that allows cancer cells to digest glucose and acquire the energy they need to survive and develop tumors, MedicalXpress said. Additionally, the content of certain molecules on the basis of which a precancerous state can be created in the cells.
Scientists have identified a molecule known as sodium-glucose transporter (SGLT2). It is a protein that is responsible for the transport of glucose inside the cell. Cancer cells need glucose to ensure their survival and growth. Therefore, another type of transport protein, known as glucose transporters (GLUT), is extremely important to them. Previous studies have shown that SGLT2 may play an important role in the development of certain cancers, including prostate and pancreas.
Positron emission tomography was now used to determine the activity of various glucose transporters in lung cancer cells at specific stages of the disease. It has been shown that a large amount of SGLT2 is contained in these cells. This suggests that the newly-emerging tumor is fed with carbohydrates, mainly via the sodium-glucose co-transporter instead of GLUT. In addition, increased SGLT2 concentration may be present prior to tumor initiation. This transforms said sodium-glucose co-transporter into an effective marker for the detection of malignant tumor formations at an early stage of their development.