Tumors that grow to a certain size need to form new blood vessels if they are to acquire the oxygen and nutrients that are essential for their continued growth and spread to other sites. Although the molecules and signaling pathways that control this new blood vessel growth are potential targets for the treatment of cancer, they have not been completely defined.
Using mouse models of cancer, Jadwiga Jablonska and colleagues, at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Germany, have now identified the soluble factor IFN-beta as a natural inhibitor of tumor blood vessel growth that limits tumor growth and works by repressing in tumor-infiltrating immune cells known as neutrophils the expression of genes responsible for promoting new blood vessel growth.
These results provide a potential explanation as to why IFN therapy is beneficial during the early stages of cancer development.
The research appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
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