Cancer researchers have wondered why ovarian cancer cells are so attracted to the abdominal cavity, especially the omentum, with the hope that such an understanding could lead to better disease management or even prevention. Results from a series of experiments suggest a two-step model of omental colonization in which i) cancer cells are attracted to and lodge within immune cell-containing structures known as milky spots, and ii) fat storage cells (adipocytes) fuel cancer cell growth and spread. This study is scheduled for publication in the August 2013 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.
The omentum is a large fatty structure that drapes off the stomach and blankets the peritoneal organs. Omental fat is composed of adipocytes, blood vessels, immune cells, and other connective tissue and contains unusual immune cell-containing structures known as milky spots, which play a key role in many of its protective functions. In previous research, investigators focused either on the milky spots or the adipocytes as key to attracting metastatic ovarian cancer cells. The results of the current experiments show that "although there are clear strengths to both of these models, neither address the intimate and dynamic interaction among milky spots, surrounding adipocytes, and other components of omental tissues. We propose an alternative, more fully integrated model," says Carrie Rinker-Schaeffer, PhD, a professor in the Departments of Surgery (Section of Urology) and Obstetrics and Gynecology at The University of Chicago.
In the first experiment, researchers investigated whether abdominal fat tissue that contains milky spots is a more attractive target for cancer cells than abdominal fat that does not contain milky spots. This study took advantage of the fact that mice have a second source of milky spot-containing abdominal fat (splenoportal fat) as well as fat that is devoid of milky spots (the gonadal, uterine, and mesenteric fat). They found that different ovarian cancer cell lines (mouse derived ID8, and human derived SKOV3ip.1, HeyA8, and CaOV3) specifically colonize omental and splenoportal fat, forming large lesions of cancer cells within milky spots. In contrast, ovarian cancer cells were rarely detected in abdominal fat that lacks milky spots.
The rapid localization of ovarian cancer cells to milky spots indicated that omental tissue secretes a factor, or factors that attract the cancer cells to these structures. Experiments showed that milky-spot-containing tissues in particular can condition cell growth medium to stimulate the migration of cancer cells. This study found that cell medium conditioned by omenta and splenoportal fat caused a 95-fold increase in cell migration, compared to controls. This study also examined mice with specific immunodeficiencies to show that ovarian cancer cell colonization of milky spots is not affected by deficiency or absence of T cells, B cells, and/or NK cells.
The authors also found an inverse relationship between ovarian cancer cell growth and depletion of adipocytes. "These data are consistent with previous reports from other investigators that indicate cancer cells use lipids stored in adipocytes as an energy source for their continued growth," says Dr. Rinker-Schaeffer. "Certain tumor cells (the 'seed') have a proclivity for specific organ microenvironments (the 'soil')," adds Dr. Rinker-Schaeffer. "Pioneers of metastasis research appreciated that the unique tissue architecture, physiology, and function of the target organ are essential to understanding metastatic organ specificity. With this in mind, we hope that our findings and discussion of how they fit into the big picture of omental colonization will facilitate studies that continue to improve our understanding of this process."
In 2012, ovarian cancer was diagnosed in almost 23,000 American women and 16,000 died from the disease. It is estimated that 22,240 women will be diagnosed with and 14,030 women will die of cancer of the ovary in 2013.
Eileen Leahy | EurekAlert!
Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies
30.03.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine
30.03.2017 | University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering