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Immune cells link pregnancy and tumor spread

Date:
June 13, 2011
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
Individuals with cancer often do not die as a result of their initial tumor but as a result of tumors at distant sites that are derived from the initial tumor. Pregnancy is a condition that seems to be permissive for tumor dissemination. New research in mice has now uncovered a possible reason for this.

Individuals with cancer often do not die as a result of their initial tumor but as a result of tumors at distant sites that are derived from the initial tumor. Pregnancy is a condition that seems to be permissive for tumor dissemination, as breast tumors arising during pregnancy display a tendency for early spread to distant sites (metastasis). Research in mice, led by Ivan Stamenkovic, at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, has now uncovered a possible reason for this.

Stamenkovic and colleagues found that the increased metastasis from tumors of several different types that they observed in pregnant mice was a result of decreased activity of immune cells known as NK cells. Furthermore, at least part of the inhibitory effect on NK cells was mediated by another group of immune cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Consistent with this, the gene expression profile of the lungs of pregnant mice (a site to which many of the tumors metastasized) was reflective of myeloid-derived suppressor cell accumulation.

Of clinical interest, the majority of genes downregulated in the lungs of pregnant mice were also expressed at lower levels in samples from lung cancer patients with poor prognosis than in samples from patients with better prognosis. The authors therefore suggest that myeloid-derived suppressor cells may represent a shared mechanism of immune suppression during pregnancy and tumor growth.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laetitia A. Mauti, Marie-Aude Le Bitoux, Karine Baumer, Jean-Christophe Stehle, Dela Golshayan, Paolo Provero, Ivan Stamenkovic. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells are implicated in regulating permissiveness for tumor metastasis during mouse gestation. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2011; DOI: 10.1172/JCI41936

Cite This Page:

Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Immune cells link pregnancy and tumor spread." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606121929.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2011, June 13). Immune cells link pregnancy and tumor spread. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606121929.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Immune cells link pregnancy and tumor spread." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606121929.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

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