Cholesterol metabolism in cancer cells in monolayer culture. III. Low-density lipoprotein metabolism

Int J Cancer. 1981 Sep 15;28(3):315-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.2910280310.


The metabolism of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) was studied in neoplastic and non-neoplastic cells of human gynecological origin, in monolayer cultures. The neoplastic cells were derived from epidermoid vaginal carcinoma, epidermoid cervical carcinoma and endometrial adenocarcinoma, in various degrees of differentiation. The non-neoplastic cells were cervical fibroblasts and epithelial cells from proliferative endometrial glands. Both neoplastic and non-neoplastic cells assimilated and degraded LDL in a similar fashion to other human cells (e.g. skin fibroblasts). However, the neoplastic cells metabolized LDL at a higher rate than the non-neoplastic cell (e.g. epidermoid cervical cancer cells metabolized LDL at a 20 times higher rate than did cervical fibroblasts). Such a high rate of LDL metabolism probably enables continuously replicating cancer cells to obtain the large amounts of cholesterol required for cell membrane synthesis. If a high rate of LDL metabolism proves to be a general property of cancer cells, such a property could prove useful for tumor chemotherapy, providing cytotoxic chemicals could be incorporated within the LDL molecule.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chloroquine / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Time Factors


  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Chloroquine