Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Severing nerves may shrink stomach cancers: Botox injections slow growth of stomach tumors in mice

Date:
August 20, 2014
Source:
Columbia University Medical Center
Summary:
Nerves may play a critical role in stomach cancer growth and that blocking nerve signals using surgery or Botox® (onabotulinumtoxinA) could be an effective treatment for the disease. Stomach cancer is the fourth-leading type of cancer and the second-highest contributor to cancer mortality worldwide, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 25 percent.

Stomach cells (red) growing with nerve cells (fluorescent green) in a lab culture dish.
Credit: Lab of Timothy C. Wang, MD

Research from Columbia University Medical Center shows that nerves may play a critical role in stomach cancer growth and that blocking nerve signals using surgery or Botox® (onabotulinumtoxinA) could be an effective treatment for the disease. The study was conducted by the laboratory of Timothy C. Wang, MD, in collaboration with Duan Chen, MD, PhD, in Norway and is published in today's issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Related Articles


"Scientists have long observed that human and mouse cancers contain a lot of nerves in and around the tumor cells," said Dr. Wang, the Dorothy L. and Daniel H. Silberberg Professor of Medicine at Columbia's Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. "We wanted to understand more about the role of nerves in the initiation and growth of cancer, by focusing on stomach cancer."

Stomach cancer is the fourth-leading type of cancer and the second-highest contributor to cancer mortality worldwide, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 25 percent.

Using three different mouse models of stomach cancer, Dr. Wang's team found that when they performed a procedure called a vagotomy to cut the nerves, the surgery significantly slowed tumor growth and increased survival rates. Removing nerve connections from only one side of the stomach allowed cancer to continue growing on the other side (with the intact nerves), providing further evidence of the importance of nerves in tumor growth.

Dr. Wang's team then tried to block transmission of nerve signals pharmacologically. They found that when they injected Botox® into mice, the drug proved to be as effective as surgery at reducing stomach cancer growth. "We found that blocking the nerve signals makes the cancer cells more vulnerable -- it removes one of the key factors that regulate their growth," said Dr. Wang.

Botox® prevents nerve cells from releasing a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. In the case of cosmetic treatment, for example, blocking acetylcholine helps to lessen facial wrinkles by causing temporary paralysis of the muscles. Because acetylcholine also ordinarily stimulates cell division, using Botox® to prevent acetylcholine release might help slow the growth of cancer.

Dr. Wang's team also found evidence of the effectiveness of targeting nerves for cancer treatment in human patients when they compared 37 patients who had a recurrence of stomach cancer many years after surgery. Of the 13 patients who had had a vagotomy as part of their procedure, in all but one case, tumors did not develop in regions where the nerve connections had been severed. By contrast, tumors were found in the same region of the stomach in all 24 patients who had not had a vagotomy.

Next, Dr. Wang's team plans to investigate the effectiveness of nerve-targeted therapy used in combination with other cancer treatments. Initial experiments have shown that blocking nerves makes cancer cells more vulnerable to chemical agents. Botox® used in combination with chemotherapy in mice increases survival rates up to 35 percent, compared with chemotherapy alone.

A limitation of the current studies is that they focus primarily on early stages of stomach cancer. "In the future, we'd really like to look at how we can use this method of targeting nerves to stop the growth of more advanced tumors," Dr. Wang said. His laboratory hopes to develop drugs that block neurotransmitter receptors. This approach would be more effective than surgery or Botox® on more invasive forms on cancer, as such drugs would be able reach cells that have broken away from the main tumor.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. C.-M. Zhao, Y. Hayakawa, Y. Kodama, S. Muthupalani, C. B. Westphalen, G. T. Andersen, A. Flatberg, H. Johannessen, R. A. Friedman, B. W. Renz, A. K. Sandvik, V. Beisvag, H. Tomita, A. Hara, M. Quante, Z. Li, M. D. Gershon, K. Kaneko, J. G. Fox, T. C. Wang, D. Chen. Denervation suppresses gastric tumorigenesis. Science Translational Medicine, 2014; 6 (250): 250ra115 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009569

Cite This Page:

Columbia University Medical Center. "Severing nerves may shrink stomach cancers: Botox injections slow growth of stomach tumors in mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820164315.htm>.
Columbia University Medical Center. (2014, August 20). Severing nerves may shrink stomach cancers: Botox injections slow growth of stomach tumors in mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820164315.htm
Columbia University Medical Center. "Severing nerves may shrink stomach cancers: Botox injections slow growth of stomach tumors in mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820164315.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) — Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 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