Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find circulating tumor cells in long-term cancer survivors

17.12.2004


Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have shown that some long-term breast-cancer survivors may have innate mechanisms to keep breast cancer at bay.

Their findings, published in the December issue of Clinical Cancer Research and available online, show that one-third of the longtime disease-free patients in the study had circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The presence of CTCs is often associated with a higher risk of recurrence if they are found soon after a mastectomy. The UT Southwestern discovery that CTCs can be found in patients up to 20 years after mastectomy is notable because these patients have a very low risk of recurrence. After 20 years, the risk of recurrence rises to 20 percent of survivors, and scientists are still unsure why.

"Dormancy is a mysterious phenomenon that occurs in certain types of cancer," said Dr. Jonathan Uhr, lead author of the study and professor in the Cancer Immunobiology Center and of microbiology and internal medicine. "The term refers to a recurrence of cancer long after the tumor has been removed."



Based on his previous data gathered from mouse models of cancer dormancy, Dr. Uhr and colleagues used a stringent and sensitive set of tests to identify CTCs in women who had mastectomies and had been clinically cancer-free for at least seven years. The investigators collected blood from 36 study participants. Of those, 13 breast-cancer survivors had CTCs, but the number of CTCs was low and remained low. Because CTCs are short-lived, they must be constantly replenished, possibly from many tiny tumors somewhere in the body.

Dr. Uhr said that there appears to be a precise balance between tumor cell replication and cell death. Those who stay healthy may have developed a way of keeping the size of the tumor cell population in check, making breast cancer a chronic illness in these patients, he said.

The next step, Dr. Uhr said, is to investigate the mechanisms for how the body and the cancer cells peacefully coexist. Such studies could reveal new ways to control cancer. "It is also important to determine what changes are responsible for relapse," he said. "If patients at risk for impending relapse can be identified, it may be possible to prevent recurrence with appropriate therapy."

Other UT Southwestern contributors to this study included Drs. Debasish Tripathy, Eugene Frenkel and Barbara Haley, all professors of internal medicine; Dr. James Huth, chairman of surgical oncology; Dr. Marilyn Leitch, professor of surgical oncology; Dr. David Euhus, associate professor of surgical oncology; Drs. Songdong Meng and Jianqiang Wang, postdoctoral researchers in the Cancer Immunobiology Center; and Nancy Lane, research scientist in the Cancer Immunobiology Center.

Megha Satyanarayana | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>