Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer Research: A Common Denominator Of Inflammations And Fatty Liver Found

Date:
May 28, 2008
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Cancer researchers find key molecule for tumor cachexia. Many cancer patients lose a lot of weight during their disease: Fat and muscle mass are reduced, free fatty acids accumulate in the liver, and this eventually leads to fatty liver in affected patients. What is called tumor cachexia appears to be caused by signals emitted by the tumor itself.

Many cancer patients lose a lot of weight during their disease: Fat and muscle mass are reduced, free fatty acids accumulate in the liver, and this eventually leads to fatty liver in affected patients. What is called tumor cachexia appears to be caused by signals emitted by the tumor itself.

Related Articles


Despite vigorous searching, scientists have not yet been able to identify these "degradation signals" of tumors. Therefore, a research team at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany, decided to take the opposite approach: Instead of searching for "hunger signals" in the tumor, they investigated the other end of the signaling chain: liver cells of mice affected by cancer. In the process, they discovered a molecular marker which controls both metabolic processes and inflammatory responses.

In advanced stages of cancer, particularly in pancreatic and lung cancers, patients frequently suffer from a wasting syndrome known as cancer cachexia. Affected patients grow very thin and weak, often there is a danger of organ failure. Body fat, in particular, is reduced and its accumulatation in the liver leads to fatty liver. This process seems to be caused by signals from the tumor itself, which radically direct metabolic processes in the body towards degradation and cause a state of chronic inflammation in the body. Despite intensive efforts to identify these signals, they remain unknown.

Stephan Herzig, head of the Emmy Noether and Marie Curie Junior Research Group "Molecular Metabolic Control" at DKFZ, and his co-workers have focused on the other end of the signaling chain: They studied liver cells of tumor-bearing mice showing signs of severe cancer cachexia. In particular, they searched for a molecule called RIP140, previously identified by Herzig as a regulator suppressing fat breakdown in the livers of healthy mice. Indeed, the investigators found a high activity of RIP140 in the cancerous mice and, accordingly, signs of fatty liver in these animals. When Herzig specifically switched off this molecule in the liver cells of tumor-bearing mice, the lipid balance of the liver normalized within a few days. The researchers have now published their results in Hepatology.

Apart from fatty liver, highly active immune cells are another characteristic of wasting in tumor patients: Increased levels of macrophages invade fatty or liver tissue and release messaging substances such as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. The result is an inflammatory response in these organs, which eventually contributes to a disruption of metabolism and loss of energy in affected patients. Collaboration partners of Stephan Herzig in London have bred mice that completely lack the RIP140 molecule. These animals are lean and stay lean, even on a rich diet. When the researchers in Herzig's group compared these animals to normal mice, they also found that their macrophages release only small amounts of proinflammatory messaging substances. The RIP140 molecule in these inflammatory cells exercises its effect through another "master regulator": the NFkB transcription factor. These results have just been published in Blood.

"Thus we have put another small link into the long unknown signaling chain from tumor to tumor cachexia," says Stephan Herzig, characterizing the relevance of his two papers. "Now, of course, we will search for the activator of RIP140," Herzig explains. "Thus, we will proceed from one link to the next until we arrive at the tumor." And, hopefully, find the "hunger signal" of tumors one day.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Cancer Research: A Common Denominator Of Inflammations And Fatty Liver Found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080527101006.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2008, May 28). Cancer Research: A Common Denominator Of Inflammations And Fatty Liver Found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080527101006.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Cancer Research: A Common Denominator Of Inflammations And Fatty Liver Found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080527101006.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
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