Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tumor-activated protein promotes cancer spread

Date:
May 13, 2013
Source:
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences
Summary:
Researchers report that cancers physically alter cells in the lymphatic system – a network of vessels that transports and stores immune cells throughout the body – to promote the spread of disease, a process called metastasis.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center report that cancers physically alter cells in the lymphatic system -- a network of vessels that transports and stores immune cells throughout the body -- to promote the spread of disease, a process called metastasis.

Related Articles


The findings are published in this week's online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Roughly 90 percent of all cancer deaths are due to metastasis -- the disease spreading from the original tumor site to multiple, distant tissues and finally overwhelming the patient's body. Lymph vessels are often the path of transmission, with circulating tumor cells lodging in the lymph nodes -- organs distributed throughout the body that act as immune system garrisons and traps for pathogens and foreign particles.

The researchers, led by principal investigator Judith A. Varner, PhD, professor of medicine at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, found that a protein growth factor expressed by tumors called VEGF-C activates a receptor called integrin α4β1 on lymphatic vessels in lymph node tissues, making them more attractive and sticky to metastatic tumor cells.

"One of the most significant features of this work is that it highlights the way that tumors can have long-range effects on other parts of the body, which can then impact tumor metastasis or growth," said Varner.

Varner said α4β1 could prove to be a valuable biomarker for measuring cancer risk, since increased levels of the activated protein in lymph tissues is an indirect indicator that an undetected tumor may be nearby.

She said whole-body imaging scans of the lymphatic network might identify problem areas relatively quickly and effectively. "The idea is that a radiolabeled or otherwise labeled anti-integrin α4β1 antibody could be injected into the lymphatic circulation, and it would only bind to and highlight the lymphatic vessels that have been activated by the presence of a tumor."

Varner noted that α4β1 levels correlate with metastasis -- the higher the level, the greater the chance of the cancer spreading. With additional research and clinical studies, doctors could refine treatment protocols so that patients at higher risk are treated appropriately, but patients at lower or no risk of metastasis are not over-treated.

The researchers noted in their studies that it is possible to suppress tumor metastasis by reducing growth factor levels or by blocking activation of the α4β1 receptor. Varner said an antibody to VEGF-R3 is currently in Phase 1 clinical trials. An approved humanized anti-α4β1 antibody is currently approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease. Varner said her lab at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is investigating the possibility of developing one for treating cancer.

Co-authors include Barbara Garmy-Susini, Christie J. Avraamides, Michael C. Schmid and Philippe Foubert, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center; Jay S. Desgrosellier, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and UCSD Department of Pathology; Lesley G. Ellies, Scott R. Vanderberg, Brian Datnow, Huan-You Wang and David A. Cheresh, UCSD Department of Pathology; Andrew M. Lowy and Sarah L. Blair, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and UCSD Department of Surgery.

Funding for this research came, in part, from National Institutes of Health grants CA83133 and CA126820; Department of Defense grant W81XWH-06-1-052 and NIH-National Cancer Institute grant U54 CA119335.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. The original article was written by Scott LaFee. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Barbara Garmy-Susini, Christie J. Avraamides, Jay S. Desgrosellier, Michael C. Schmid, Philippe Foubert, Lesley G. Ellies, Andrew M. Lowy, Sarah L. Blair, Scott R. Vandenberg, Brian Datnow, Huan-You Wang, David A. Cheresh, and Judith Varner. PI3K{alpha} activates integrin {alpha}4{beta}1 to establish a metastatic niche in lymph nodes. PNAS, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1219603110

Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. "Tumor-activated protein promotes cancer spread." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130513202359.htm>.
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. (2013, May 13). Tumor-activated protein promotes cancer spread. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130513202359.htm
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. "Tumor-activated protein promotes cancer spread." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130513202359.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 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