Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Tumor Cells Home In On The Lymphatic System

Date:
June 14, 2007
Source:
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Summary:
Scientists have published a new mechanistic description of how tumor cells migrate to the lymphatic system in the early stages of tumor metastasis. This new understanding holds significant potential for developing anti-metastasis therapies.

A Swiss-based research team has published a new mechanistic description of how tumor cells migrate to the lymphatic system in the early stages of tumor metastasis. This new understanding holds significant potential for developing anti-metastasis therapies.

Related Articles


Scientists know that tumor cells spread via the lymphatic system, but they don't understand the details of how this deadly migration takes place. In the June 2007 issue of the journal Cancer Cell, EPFL Professor Melody Swartz and postdoctoral researcher Jacqueline Shields provide an explanation along with data to support it.

Tumors produce excess fluid that continually percolates from the tumor towards nearby lymphatic vessels. The EPFL research shows how tumor cells use a clever chemical strategy to exploit this slow, one-way flow in order to migrate to functional lymphatic vessels.

As part of their intercellular drainage job, lymphatic tissues secrete small quantities of a signaling molecule. Cells migrate towards high concentrations of this molecule, so if they are close enough to the lymphatic to sense the molecule, they will migrate towards the vessel. Swartz's group showed that tumor cells secrete this same molecule.

Since lymphatics drain fluid, there will always be slow fluid flow going away from the tumor into the lymphatic vessel. This slow flow biases the concentration distribution of this molecule towards the lymphatic, and the tumor cell follows it, like the proverbial carrot on a stick. Near the vessel, concentrations of the signaling molecule are reinforced by the lymphatic's own secretions, fine tuning the tumor cells' migration and guaranteeing that they will home in on the lymphatic.

To demonstrate this new concept, the researchers engineered a tissue culture model of the tumor-lymphatic microenvironment and developed computational models to calculate the gradients of the signaling molecule.

The study provides the first evidence that tumor cells can both produce and use the same signaling molecule, and it highlights the significance of the biophysical environment in the vicinity of a tumor, particularly the existence of continuous slow flow in the direction of functional lymphatics.

This research could open new avenues for combating metastasis, says Swartz. "It implies that if a lymphatic was blocked, tumor cells would be less attracted to it. This means that tumor cells "know" which lymphatic vessels will be more effective routes for dissemination," she explains. "Therapeutically, it indicates that a drug target for lymph node metastases could be blocking the signaling molecule or its receptor on the tumor cell."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "How Tumor Cells Home In On The Lymphatic System." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070611122257.htm>.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. (2007, June 14). How Tumor Cells Home In On The Lymphatic System. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070611122257.htm
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "How Tumor Cells Home In On The Lymphatic System." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070611122257.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) — Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins