Satellite Banner
RNAi
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

Join For Free

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 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,800+ 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.

Related Content

Predictive Model for Breast Cancer Progression
Biomedical engineers have demonstrated a proof-of-principle technique that could give women and their oncologists more personalized information to help them choose options for treating breast cancer.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Startup Launched from Georgia Tech-Emory University Research Receives $7.9 Million
Clearside Biomedical, Inc. has received $7.9 million in funding to continue drug and technology development for treatment of ocular diseases.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Scientific News
Liquid Biopsies: Miracle Diagnostic or Next New Fad?
Thanks to the development of highly specific gene-amplification and sequencing technologies liquid biopsies access more biomarkers relevant to more cancers than ever before.
Cancer Gene-Drug Combinations Ripe for Precision Medicine
The study aims to expand the number of cancer gene mutations that can be pair with a precision therapy.
Colon Cancer Blocked in Mice
Case Western Reserve University Researchers block common type of colon cancer tumour in mice, laying groundwork for human clinical trial.
Protein Nanocages Could Improve Drug Design and Delivery
HHMI scientists have designed and built 10 large protein icosahedra that are similar to viral capsids that carry viral DNA.
Cancer Related Immune Response Genes Uncovered
Researchers at the SBP have identified over 100 new genetic regions that affect the immune response to cancer.
New Therapeutic Targets For Small Cell Lung Cancer Identified
Researchers at UTSW Medical Center have identified a protein termed ASCL1 that is essential to the development of small cell lung cancer and that, when deleted in the lungs of mice, prevents the cancer from forming.
Liquid Biopsies Treating Ovarian Cancer
Researchers have discovered a promising monitor and treat recurrence of ovarian cancer. Detecting cancer long before tumours reappear.
Virus Inspired Cell Cargo Ships
Virus-inspired container design may lead to cell cargo ships following construction of ten large, two-component, icosahedral protein complexes.
Uncovering a New Principle in Chemotherapy Resistance in Breast Cancer
The NIH study has revealed an entirely unexpected process for acquiring drug resistance that bypasses the need to re-establish DNA damage repair in breast cancers that have mutant BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Understanding Treatment Resistant Melanoma
Researchers have determined how advanced melanoma becomes resistant; a development toward developing treatments.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
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
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!