Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stress May Hasten The Growth Of Melanoma Tumors

Date:
February 1, 2009
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
For patients with a particularly aggressive form of skin cancer -- malignant melanoma -- stress, including that which comes from simply hearing that diagnosis, might amplify the progression of their disease. But the same new research that infers this also suggests that the use of commonly prescribed blood pressure medicines might slow the development of those tumors and therefore improve these patients' quality of life.

For patients with a particularly aggressive form of skin cancer – malignant melanoma – stress, including that which comes from simply hearing that diagnosis, might amplify the progression of their disease.

But the same new research that infers this also suggests that the use of commonly prescribed blood pressure medicines might slow the development of those tumors and therefore improve these patients’ quality of life.

The study, the third by Ohio State University scientists in the last two years that looked for links between stress hormones and diseases like cancer, is published in the the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

Eric V. Yang, a research scientist at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR), exposed samples of three melanoma cell lines to the compound norepinephrine, a naturally occurring catecholamine that functions as a stress hormone.  In times of increased stress, levels of norepinephrine increase in the bloodstream.

Yang and colleague Ronald Glaser were looking for changes in the levels of three proteins released by the cells.  Glaser is a professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, member of the university’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the IBMR.

One of the proteins – vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF – plays a key role in stimulating the growth of new blood vessels needed to feed a growing tumor, a process called angiogenesis.  The other two proteins, Interleukin-6 and Interleukin-8, are both involved in fostering tumor growth.

All three of the cell lines were grown from tissues taken from secondary tumors that had metastasized from a primary site and they signify aggressive forms of cancer.  But one of them – C8161 – represented the most aggressive and advanced form of melanoma.

“We noticed that all three of these proteins increased in response to the norepinephrine,” Yang explained, adding that in the C8161 cells, “we got a 2,000 percent increase in IL-6.  In untreated samples from this cell line, you normally can’t detect any IL-6 at all.

“What this tells us is that stress might have a worse effect on melanoma that is in a very aggressive or advanced stage, and that one marker for that might be increased levels of IL-6,” he said.

The researchers ruled out cell proliferation – an increase in the number of cells present – as a reason for the increase in all three proteins.  That meant that the only other answer was that the cells were increasing their expression of the genes responsible for producing these compounds.

The researchers showed that the norepinephrine molecule binds to receptors on the surface of cancer cells and once this linkage occurs, it stimulates the release of the proteins that support angiogenesis and tumor growth.

Yang and Glaser first confirmed that the receptors were present on cells in all three cell lines and then tested what would happen when the receptors were blocked by common blood pressure medicine – the so-called “beta-blockers.”

When the beta-blockers did bind to the receptors, the production of the three proteins reduced significantly, suggesting that in patients with melanoma, using these types of medications might be used to slow the progression of the disease in patients.

While the study was restricted to tumor cell lines, rather than using animal models or human patients, the findings are still exciting.  The researchers found strong evidence that the same receptors are expressed on the surface of tumor cells from biopsies that were taken from melanoma patients.  That supports the clinical importance of the results. 

Two earlier studies on different tumor cell lines – one prepared from a multiple myeloma and the other from a nasopharyngeal carcinoma – also showed that exposure to norepinephrine increased the levels of proteins responsible for accelerating tumor growth.

The research is showing not only that different forms of cancer react differently to stress hormones but also that those reactions can vary within a specific form of the disease, with the possibility of a more aggressive form of the disease reacting more strongly to the stressors.

For melanoma patients, that can be very important since these tumors are able to metastasize, or spread, when they are much smaller than most other solid cancers.  The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 48,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year and nearly 8,000 people are killed each year by the disease.

This research was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute.  Other collaborators in the study included Sanford Barsky, professor and chair of pathology; and IBMR members Elise Donovan, Min Chen, Amy Gross, Jeanette Webster Marketon and Seung-jae Kim.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Stress May Hasten The Growth Of Melanoma Tumors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090130093409.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2009, February 1). Stress May Hasten The Growth Of Melanoma Tumors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090130093409.htm
Ohio State University. "Stress May Hasten The Growth Of Melanoma Tumors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090130093409.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
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