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New research sheds light on cause of tumor spread

Por: | 20 de enero de 2013


By Dr. Angela Nieto, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Metastasis causes more than 90% of cancer deaths. When cancer cells break away from the original tumor, they spread through the body, anchor to other organs, and built new tumors called metastasis. New scientific research has found that the cellular component Prrx1 prevents cancer cells lodge in other organs and, therefore, generate new sources of cancer.

For a cancer to spread through other organs, tumoral cells undergo a process known as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) that turns cells into mobile and invasive, and they begin to travel through the bloodstream. However, in order to re-anchor to a new organ or tissue, cells must recover their initial characteristics, this is, to loose their mobility.

Led by the National Research Council, researchers at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Instituto de Investigaciones Biomedicas "Alberto Sols", participate in a study on new mechanisms of metastasis. This study describes a new component, the Prrx1, whose presence in primary tumors can prevent generation of metastasis.

Researchers have found that the transition from mobile to stationary cancer cells involves the loss of its Prrx1 component. "Although this component is one of the factors favoring the initial spread of cancer cells and their arrival to other organs, it needs to be shut down so that these cells are grouped to form other tumors ", said Angela Nieto, leader of the study and researcher at the Institute of Neurosciences (mix center CSIC and Universidad Miguel Hernandez).

Therefore, tumors with high amounts of Prrx1 have better prognosis given that they cannot produce metastases. Oscar Ocaña, researcher at the Neurosciences Institute, believes that "the therapeutic strategy of blocking the EMT to prevent the spread of tumors, would only be effective if it happens before the first cancer cells has detached from the primary tumor, which usually occurs in very early stages of the disease and usually before having the diagnosis ". In fact, "blocking the EMT in these conditions favors the appearance of new tumors" added Nieto. However, the research also shows that a strategy oriented to attack other properties in cancer cells, would actually work against metastasis.

The results, recently published in Cancer Cell, were found thanks to the study of animal models such as: chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus), zebra fish (Danio rerio), and mice (Mus musculus), and also patients samples.

This work has been produced by UAM researchers Gema Moreno-Bueno and Amparo Cano led by Dr. Angela Nieto Neurosciences Institute (CSIC-University Joint Center Miguel Hernández), in collaboration with researchers from other institutions, such as IDIBELL (Dr. Angels Fabra) and MD Anderson Foundation Spain.

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid


For more information: Oscar H. Ocaña, Rebeca Córcoles, Ángels Fabra, Gema Moreno‐Bueno, Hervé Acloque, Sonia Vega, Alejandro Barrallo‐Gimeno, Amparo Cano, and M. Ángela Nieto. Metastatic Colonization Requires the Repression of the Epithelial‐Mesenchymal Transition Inducer Prrx1. Cancer Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2012.10.012

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Por desgracia esta enfermedad va consumiendo, espero que poco a poco encontremos soluciones apra esta catástrofe humana...

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