Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Solid Tumor Cells Not Killed By Radiation And Chemotherapy Become Stronger

Date:
June 10, 2008
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
Because of the way solid tumors adapt the body's machinery to bring themselves more oxygen, chemotherapy and radiation may actually make these tumors stronger.

Because of the way solid tumors adapt the body's machinery to bring themselves more oxygen, chemotherapy and radiation may actually make these tumors stronger.

"In a sense, these therapies can make the tumor healthier," said Mark W. Dewhirst, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor of radiation oncology at Duke University Medical Center. "Unless the treatment is very effective in killing many if not most tumor cells, you are shooting yourself in the foot."

Dewhirst and colleagues Yiting Cao, M.D., Ph.D., of Duke Pathology, and Benjamin Moeller, M.D., Ph.D. have introduced this counter-intuitive idea at recent conferences and in a review article featured in the June issue of Nature Reviews Cancer.

Radiation and chemotherapy do kill most solid tumor cells, but in the cells that survive, the therapies drive an increase in a regulatory factor called HIF1 (hypoxia-inducible factor 1), which cells use to get the oxygen they need by increasing blood vessel growth into the tumor. Solid tumors generally have low supplies of oxygen, Dewhirst explained and HIF1 helps them get the oxygen they need.

The review article concludes that blocking HIF1 would provide a clear mechanism for killing solid-tumor cells, particularly cells that are proving resistant to radiation or chemotherapy treatments.

As a part of this work, Dewhirst's team has been studying the phenomenon of rising and falling oxygen levels in tumors, called cycling hypoxia. Oxygen levels have been found to naturally cycle up and down in individual blood vessels as well as large tumor regions. This instability in the tumor's oxygen levels can increase HIF-1 production and cause radiation therapy to fail, Dewhirst said.

"It is my opinion that the whole tumor grows more aggressively because of this pulsation of oxygen at low levels," Dewhirst said. "Most people thought cycling hypoxia was caused by temporary stoppage of blood flow in single blood vessel in tumors. In fact, however, oxygen levels cycle up and down virtually everywhere in the tumor, which is caused by fluctuations in blood flow rate. It has been a challenge to convince people of this."

The Duke team argues that blocking HIF1 is the consistent answer to tumor growth problems. Blocking HIF1 activity interferes with the tumor's ability to undergo glycolysis (energy production) in low-oxygen conditions, which blocks tumor growth, the authors wrote. Exactly how to accomplish chemotherapy or radiation treatment in the safest, most effective ways, in combination with HIF1 blockade, is still open for exploration, Dewhirst said.

For example, targeting HIF1 in the early stages of tumor growth, especially in very early cancer spread, may help, Dewhirst said. "For a woman who has had a primary breast tumor removed, and who is at high risk for cancer spread, this might be a situation in which you'd target HIF1," he explained. "Blocking HIF1 makes sense during the early stages of angiogenesis, which is the accelerated phase of blood vessel formation. In this way, you could keep the early metastasis sites inactive and prevent them from growing."

The Duke team has completed a phase I trial with a HIF1 inhibitor. "We are actively pursuing this clinically and will be moving this study into Phase 2," Dewhirst said. "We are interested in other applications of HIF-1 inhibition in combination with radiation and chemotherapy for different diseases."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Solid Tumor Cells Not Killed By Radiation And Chemotherapy Become Stronger." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080609124555.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2008, June 10). Solid Tumor Cells Not Killed By Radiation And Chemotherapy Become Stronger. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080609124555.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Solid Tumor Cells Not Killed By Radiation And Chemotherapy Become Stronger." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080609124555.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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