The Origins of Metastasis Have Been Discovered

The Origins of Metastasis Have Been Discovered ...

Metastatic cells form in a primary tumour and then move away from it, move to other organs, attach to them, and form new tumours. This is because these cells, which are referred to as PAME by the researchers, now appear as therapeutic targets. These findings can be found in the journalCell Reports.

Metastatic cells are involved in many forms of cancer. They begin by removing primary tumours and migrate. They travel through the tissues surrounding them, through blood vessels or lymphatic channels. Along the way, they may attach to one or more organs, such as the lungs, brain, bones, and liver, and develop new tumours called metastases. This spread of the disease can adversely affect a patient''s recovery chances.

Previous studies have identified metastatic cells during migration. It is also known that certain therapies may induce them. However, the exact mechanisms of their development remain unknown. Ariel Ruiz i Altaba, a full professor in the Department of Genetic Medecine and Development at the University of Colorado, has explained that this phenomenon is difficult to understand because before they migrate, there is no indication of future metastatic cells or pro-metastatic cells.

Cells that should have died

The group of UNIGE scientists has now provided some answers. Despite a recent research, the immediate death within the primary tumour has forced certain cells to acquire pro-metastatic states. This near-death experience occurs particularly in the context of certain therapies that would have been denied energy or oxygen. These cells, named PAME, are now called for post-apoptotic pro-metastatic cells.

A storm of cytokines

UNIGE researchers developed tumour samples from two colon cancer patients. Tumour cells from these samples were then then transplanted into mice, where they grew and formed new tumours. These cells were subjected to an imminent death experience, causing endoplasmic reticulum stress similar to that caused by certain chemotherapeutic medications. This allowed the development of PAME cells.

PAMEs are triggering a wave of cytokines, proteins and other factors that assure cell-to-cell communication, inducing adjacent cells to become PIMs, for PAME-induced migratory cells. These PIMs then associate with PAMEs and assist them to develop metastases.

These findings provide promising new possibilities for therapeutic management, including the prevention of pro-metastatic fields generated by certain therapies. Currently, one of the major prerequisites for therapy is tumor shrinkage. Professor Ruiz i Altaba believes that PAME cells now appear to be as therapeutic and metastasis prevention targets.

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