Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ovarian cancer cells bully their way through tissue

Date:
June 14, 2011
Source:
Harvard Medical School
Summary:
Ovarian cancer cells use mechanical force to move through tissue and colonize additional organs. A new study contributes to a body of work that will inform future treatments. Eventually, it might be possible to prevent or reverse the spread of ovarian cancer to distant sites in the body.

A team led by Joan Brugge, the Louise Foote Pfeiffer Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, recently shed light on how ovarian cancer spreads. In a paper published in the July edition of the journal Cancer Discovery, the newest journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, Brugge and colleagues found that ovarian cancer cells act like bullies, using brute force to plow their way through tissue and colonize additional organs.

Related Articles


"This is the first time that mechanical force has been implicated in the spread of ovarian cancer," says Brugge, who is also chair of the Department of Cell Biology. "While this research is still preliminary, we are building a foundation for the development of treatments based on a robust understanding of the disease."

According to the National Cancer Institute, ovarian cancer accounts for about three percent of all cancers among women in the United States. It caused nearly 14,000 deaths in 2010 alone.

The ovaries and many other organs, such as the liver, stomach and intestines, are located in an anatomical space called the peritoneal cavity. The lining of this cavity is called the peritoneum, and its top layer is called the mesothelium. After an ovarian tumor develops, clusters of cancer cells are released into the peritoneal cavity. Each cluster floats around until it encounters the lining of the cavity. It attaches to the lining, spreads out and launches an invasion into the mesothelium. Brugge's team determined how ovarian cancer cells get through the mesothelium to colonize organs on the other side.

When researchers placed ovarian cancer cells and mesothelial cells together in a dish, the cancer cells formed a hole in the mesothelial layer, mirroring behavior that would occur in the body as an invasion proceeds. The team interfered with molecular components of the cancer cells one by one and used time-lapse microscopy to watch the result. If the hole failed to form, the researchers knew that they'd discovered a critical player in the invasion process.

They identified three such players -- integrin, talin and myosin, which are all proteins known to play a role in cell movement. Integrin sticks out from the cancer cells and grabs hold of scaffolding surrounding the mesothelium. Myosin, which is a motor, pulls on integrin via talin. As a result, the protruding cancer cells gain traction and can now force mesothelial cells out of the way.

"The cancer cells act like bullies," says first author Marcin Iwanicki, a postdoctoral researcher in Brugge's lab. "Instead of relying on a sophisticated biochemical process to achieve their goal, they simply push mesothelial cells apart."

"Eventually, it might be possible to prevent or reverse the invasion process," says Brugge. "We hope that our work will inform such treatments in the future."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Marcin P. Iwanicki, Rachel A. Davidowitz, Mei Rosa Ng, Achim Besser, Taru Muranen, Melissa Merritt, Gaudenz Danuser, Tan Ince, and Joan S. Brugge. Ovarian Cancer Spheroids Use Myosin-Generated Force to Clear the Mesothelium. Cancer Discovery, 2011; DOI: 10.1158/2159-8274.CD-11-0010

Cite This Page:

Harvard Medical School. "Ovarian cancer cells bully their way through tissue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614131946.htm>.
Harvard Medical School. (2011, June 14). Ovarian cancer cells bully their way through tissue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614131946.htm
Harvard Medical School. "Ovarian cancer cells bully their way through tissue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614131946.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

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
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 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:

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