Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Link Between Alcohol And Cancer Explained: Alcohol Activates Cellular Changes That Make Tumor Cells Spread

Date:
October 27, 2009
Source:
Rush University Medical Center
Summary:
Alcohol consumption has long been linked to cancer and its spread, but the underlying mechanism has never been clear. Now, researchers have identified a cellular pathway that may explain the link.

Researchers have identified a cellular pathway that may explain the link between alcohol consumption and cancer.
Credit: iStockphoto

Alcohol consumption has long been linked to cancer and its spread, but the underlying mechanism has never been clear. Now, researchers at Rush University Medical Center have identified a cellular pathway that may explain the link.

Related Articles


In a study published in a recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the researchers found that alcohol stimulates what is called the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, in which run-of-the-mill cancer cells morph into a more aggressive form and begin to spread throughout the body.

"Our data are the first to show that alcohol turns on certain signals inside a cell that are involved in this critical transition," said Christopher Forsyth, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and biochemistry at Rush University Medical Center and lead author of the study.

The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition is a hot area of research right now, implicated in the process whereby cancer cells become metastatic. A large body of laboratory and clinical research suggests that it plays a key role in making cancer cells aggressive.

"Cancer cells become dangerous when they metastasize," Forsyth said. "Surgery can remove a tumor, but aggressive tumor cells invade tissues throughout the body and take over. If we can thwart this transition, we can limit cancer's toll."

The researchers treated colon and breast cancer cell lines with alcohol and then looked for the biochemical hallmarks of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, including evidence of a transcription factor called Snail and of the receptor for epidermal growth factor. Snail controls the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; when overexpressed in mice, it induces the formation of multiple tumors. Epidermal growth factor is required by many cancer cells. "They need lots of it," Forsyth said. "They are addicted to it."

Laboratory tests showed that alcohol activated both these and other biochemicals characteristic of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Tests also demonstrated that the alcohol-treated cells had lost their tight junctions with adjacent cells, a preparation for migrating, as metastatic cells do.

In addition, Forsyth and his colleagues found that the same roster of biomarkers was activated in normal intestinal cells treated with alcohol, suggesting that alcohol not only worsens the profile of existing cancer cells but also may initiate cancer by stimulating the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Forsyth et al. Alcohol Stimulates Activation of Snail, Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Signaling, and Biomarkers of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Colon and Breast Cancer Cells. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 2009; DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.01061.x

Cite This Page:

Rush University Medical Center. "Link Between Alcohol And Cancer Explained: Alcohol Activates Cellular Changes That Make Tumor Cells Spread." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026172052.htm>.
Rush University Medical Center. (2009, October 27). Link Between Alcohol And Cancer Explained: Alcohol Activates Cellular Changes That Make Tumor Cells Spread. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026172052.htm
Rush University Medical Center. "Link Between Alcohol And Cancer Explained: Alcohol Activates Cellular Changes That Make Tumor Cells Spread." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026172052.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. 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