Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Survival niche for cancer cells

Date:
June 17, 2011
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Cancer cells do not grow equally well everywhere in the body. Often, they first create the conditions in which they can grow. Immunologists and hematologists have now shown that specific forms of lymphoma also create their own survival niche.

Cancer cells do not grow equally well everywhere in the body. Often, they first create the conditions in which they can grow. Many years ago researchers discovered that solid tumors attract blood vessels to ensure their supply of nutrients by secreting specific factors. Now the immunologist Dr. Uta Höpken (Tumor and Immunogenetics Research Group at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, MDC, Berlin-Buch in the Helmholtz Association) and the hematologist Dr. Armin Rehm (Charité -- Virchow-Klinikum, Department of Hematology, Oncology and Tumor Immunology, MDC) have shown for the first time that specific forms of lymphoma also create their own survival niche.

Lymphoma is the term used to describe a group of cancers of the lymphatic system. Lymphoma cells are abnormal immune cells (B cells or T cells), a specific group of white blood cells (lymphocytes). Using a mouse model, Dr. Rehm and Dr. Höpken demonstrated for the first time that the dissemination of lymphoma cells and their accumulation in the lymph nodes or spleen is dependent on specific signaling or growth substances, the chemokines CCL19 or CCL21.

Chemokines normally attract immune cells to a site of infection or inflammation. As former immune cells, lymphoma cells have special antennas (receptors) on their cell surface to which these signaling substances bind. If the lymphoma cells receive the signal via their CCR7 receptor, they migrate into the lymph nodes and into specific areas within the spleen.

Paradox

CCR7 not only mediates the migration of the lymphoma cells, it is also apparently crucial for their development and survival. As the two researchers showed in a next step, the lymphoma cells proliferate in the lymph nodes or in the spleen very slowly if this receptor is absent.

However, with the aid of CCR7 the cancer cells find their survival niche in the T-cell zones of the lymph nodes and the spleen. In these zones T cells are usually made fit for defense. "It is paradoxical that lymphoma cells as former B cells find an absolutely optimal microenvironment for their growth in these T-cell zones," Dr. Höpken said.

There the lymphoma cells crosstalk with stromal cells (connective tissue cells), which subsequently secrete increased quantities of the chemokines CCL19/CCL21. The CCR7 receptor not only mediates the homing of additional lymphoma cells to the lymph nodes or spleen, but also stimulates their proliferation.

On the other hand, the lymphoma cells themselves secrete a signaling substance (lymphotoxin) which induces the stromal cells to secrete more and more chemokines. In this way the lymphoma cells ensure their survival. This may also explain why some lymphomas are so aggressive.

In mice the researchers succeeded in breaking this vicious cycle. Using an active substance that blocks the binding of the lymphotoxins to the stromal cells, they were able to stop tumor growth. "In the future," Dr. Rehm said, "it may be that therapeutic strategies will not target the lymphoma cells directly, but rather the connective tissue so vital for their survival."


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.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Rehm, A. Mensen, K. Schradi, K. Gerlach, S. Wittstock, S. Winter, G. Buchner, B. Dorken, M. Lipp, U. E. Hopken. Cooperative function of CCR7 and lymphotoxin in the formation of a lymphoma-permissive niche within murine secondary lymphoid organs. Blood, 2011; DOI: 10.1182/blood-2010-11-321265

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Survival niche for cancer cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606113108.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2011, June 17). Survival niche for cancer cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606113108.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Survival niche for cancer cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606113108.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. 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:
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