The Mechanism Behind Cancer Metastasis, Unraveled

Recommend to others!

There is now a great chance for the spread of tumor cells if the findings of the study by scientists from Dalhousie University are confirmed. This study aims to understand the mechanism of metastasis of cancer cells, which account to majority of deaths related to cancerous diseases.

In the recent issue of Cancer Research, the official journal of the American Association for Cancer Researcher, lead researcher of the study David Waisman, Ph.D. said that the key role of the macrophage cell surface protein called S100A10 plays in permitting macrophages to move to the site of tumor growth… an important process which occurs in the development of a tumor. Waisman, who is also a professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Pathology of the Dalhousie University, said that the findings of the study is one of the complicated examples of cancer biology:

“We used to think that the only cells that mattered in a tumor were the cancer cells, and that’s it, but now we are beginning to see that other cells must collaborate with cancer cells to drive tumor growth and permit an evolution of the cancer cells into metastatic cells. This change is what causes poor prognosis and ultimately what kills the patient,” he said.

Waisman and his colleagues were able to find out that without the help of macrophages, tumors will not grow. These macrophages have to originate from the blood or from other locations in the tissues. But what remains as a mystery is how these macrophages are able to move through the tissues or from the blood supply, into the tumor cells.

These macrophages need to chew their way through the tissues which form a protective shield around the tumor so that they can move into the tumor site and combine with the cancer cells. The researchers also found that superficial to the macrophage is a protein called S100A10 which enable the macrophages to remove the tissue barriers, thereby inhibiting the migration to the tumor site.

If the results have been confirmed, there may be a possibility that the S100A10 protein could chemically slow down, and even stop the growth of tumors.

“We found that the protein, S100A10, acts like a pair of scissors on the outside of the macrophages that empowers the macrophages with the ability to chew their way through tissues and enter the tumor site where they release substances that stimulate cancer cell growth and metastatic evolution,” said Waisman.

According to him, the subsequent step would be to figure out how exactly does S100A10 function as a molecular scissor. Identifying pharmaceutical agents which can block the action of S100A10 protein is also essential, thereby preventing the migration of macrophages to the tumor site. With a clear understanding as to how S100A10 works at the molecular level, there is a great possibility that its activities can be inhibited, leading to lesser tumor growths and possibly eradication thereof.




Speak Your Mind


Current day month ye@r *