Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genotyping & Gene Expression
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

New Evidence that Cancer Cells Change While Moving throughout Body

Published: Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Bookmark and Share
For the majority of cancer patients it is the spread or “metastasis” of cancer cells from the primary tumor to secondary locations throughout the body that is the problem.

That’s why a major focus of contemporary cancer research is how to stop or fight metastasis.

Previous lab studies suggest that metastasizing cancer cells undergo a major molecular change when they leave the primary tumor – a process called epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). As the cells travel from one site to another, they pick up new characteristics. More importantly, they develop a resistance to chemotherapy that is effective on the primary tumor. But confirmation of the EMT process has only taken place in test tubes or in animals.

In a new study, published in the Journal of Ovarian Research, Georgia Tech scientists have direct evidence that EMT takes place in humans, at least in ovarian cancer patients. The findings suggest that doctors should treat patients with a combination of drugs: those that kill cancer cells in primary tumors and drugs that target the unique characteristics of cancer cells spreading through the body.

The researchers looked at matching ovarian and abdominal cancerous tissues in seven patients. Pathologically, the cells looked exactly the same, implying that they simply fell off the primary tumor and spread to the secondary site with no changes. But on the molecular level, the cells were very different. Those in the metastatic site displayed genetic signatures consistent with EMT. The scientists didn’t see the process take place, but they know it happened.

“It’s like noticing that a piece of cake has gone missing from your kitchen and you turn to see your daughter with chocolate on her face,” said John McDonald, director of Georgia Tech’s Integrated Cancer Research Center and lead investigator on the project. “You didn’t see her eat the cake, but the evidence is overwhelming. The gene expression patterns of the metastatic cancers displayed gene expression profiles that unambiguously identified them as having gone through EMT.”

The EMT process is an essential component of embryonic development and allows for reduced cell adhesiveness and increased cell movement.

According to Benedict Benigno, collaborating physician on the paper, CEO of the Ovarian Cancer Institute and director of gynecological oncology at Atlanta’s Northside Hospital, “These results clearly indicate that metastasizing ovarian cancer cells are very different from those comprising the primary tumor and will likely require new types of chemotherapy if we are going to improve the outcome of these patients.”

Ovarian cancer is the most malignant of all gynecological cancers and responsible for more than 14,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. It often reveals no early symptoms and isn’t typically diagnosed until after it spreads.

“Our team is hopeful that, because of the new findings, the substantial body of knowledge that has already been acquired on how to block EMT and reduce metastasis in experimental models may now begin to be applied to humans,” said Georgia Tech graduate student Loukia Lili, co-author of the study.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Poor Survival Rates in Leukemia Linked to Persistent Genetic Mutations
For patients with an often-deadly form of leukemia, new research suggests that lingering cancer-related mutations – detected after initial treatment with chemotherapy – are associated with an increased risk of relapse and poor survival.
Marijuana Genome Unraveled
A study by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical and legal implications for this valuable crop.
Growing Hepatitis C in the Lab
Recent discovery allows study of naturally occurring forms of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the lab.
Signature of Microbiomes Linked to Schizophrenia
Studying microbiomes in throat may help identify causes and treatments of brain disorder.
Study Identifies the Off Switch for Biofilm Formation
New discovery could help prevent the formation of infectious bacterial films on hospital equipment.
Genetic Overlapping in Multiple Autoimmune Diseases May Suggest Common Therapies
CHOP genomics expert leads analysis of genetic architecture, with eye on repurposing existing drugs.
Fat in the Family?
Study could lead to therapeutics that boost metabolism.
Combo Tool
Joining molecular components expands ability to manipulate genes in specific cell types.
Team Identifies Structure of Tumor-Suppressing Protein
An international group of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University physicists Mathias Lösche and Frank Heinrich have established the structure of an important tumor suppressing protein, PTEN.
Genes Associated With Improved Survival for Pancreatic Cancer Patients
Use of non-invasive liquid biopsies could predict in which patients the cancer could recur following surgery.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!