The work examines how cells in the body communicate with each other through cytokines, signaling molecules that direct a wide range of activities such as cell growth and movement. One important cytokine -- transforming growth factor -a (TGF-a) -- normally suppresses tumor development.
However, according to the findings, cancer cells in humans are able to misuse these cytokines for their own gain by compelling TGF-a to enhance a tumor's ability to spread instead of suppressing it.
Using computer-based analysis to classify patient tumor samples based on their levels of TGF-a, the researchers observed that about half of all breast tumors contained active TGF-a. The affected tumors were found to be more aggressive and more likely to metastasize to the lung during the course of the patients' disease.
Using mice for their next set of experiments, the researchers discovered that TGF-a prompts breast cancer cells to make a second cytokine, known as angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4), which enhances the ability of the cancer to spread to the lungs through the blood circulation. The results show that the breast cancer cells use ANGPTL4 to break down the thin capillaries of the lung, thus facilitating their escape into the lung tissue.
"Our work shows that TGF-a enhances human breast cancer metastasis and reveals how tumor cells learn to exploit cytokines by making them work as a relay system to promote the spread of breast cancer," said the study's senior author, Joan Massagu¨¦, PhD, Chairman of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at MSKCC and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
The researchers are now seeking to determine whether TGF-a and ANGPTL4 may also be active in other types of tumors, and are evaluating ways to interfere with the action of these cytokines to prevent metastasis in cancer patients.
"Deciphering how cancer cells take advantage of these cytokines is essential for developing therapies that can prevent this process," said the study's lead author David Padua, a graduate student in Dr. Massagu¨¦'s lab. "Because cytokines act outside of cells they can be more easily targeted by drugs that block their activity."
The study provides support for developing agents to interfere with TGF-a in order to prevent and treat cancer metastasis. It points at ANGPTL4 as a possible target to interrupt the TGF-a stimulus of metastasis without interfering with the molecule's beneficial effects. Several pharmaceutical companies are currently testing TGF-a-blocking compounds in clinical trials as candidate drugs against breast cancer, melanoma, and other types of cancer.
Esther Napolitano | EurekAlert!
Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss has increased
14.06.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden
WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Russian researchers together with their French colleagues discovered that a genuine feature of superconductors -- quantum Abrikosov vortices of supercurrent -- can also exist in an ordinary nonsuperconducting metal put into contact with a superconductor. The observation of these vortices provides direct evidence of induced quantum coherence. The pioneering experimental observation was supported by a first-ever numerical model that describes the induced vortices in finer detail.
These fundamental results, published in the journal Nature Communications, enable a better understanding and description of the processes occurring at the...
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
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Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
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