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Stress may hasten the growth of melanoma tumors
Date:1/30/2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio For patients with a particularly aggressive form of skin cancer malignant melanoma stress, including that which comes from simply hearing that diagnosis, might amplify the progression of their disease.

But the same new research that infers this also suggests that the use of commonly prescribed blood pressure medicines might slow the development of those tumors and therefore improve these patients' quality of life.

The study, the third by Ohio State University scientists in the last two years that looked for links between stress hormones and diseases like cancer, is published in the the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

Eric V. Yang, a research scientist at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR), exposed samples of three melanoma cell lines to the compound norepinephrine, a naturally occurring catecholamine that functions as a stress hormone. In times of increased stress, levels of norepinephrine increase in the bloodstream.

Yang and colleague Ronald Glaser were looking for changes in the levels of three proteins released by the cells. Glaser is a professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, member of the university's Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the IBMR.

One of the proteins vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF plays a key role in stimulating the growth of new blood vessels needed to feed a growing tumor, a process called angiogenesis. The other two proteins, Interleukin-6 and Interleukin-8, are both involved in fostering tumor growth.

All three of the cell lines were grown from tissues taken from secondary tumors that had metastasized from a primary site and they signify aggressive forms of cancer. But one of them C8161 represented the most aggressive and advanced form of melanoma.

"We noticed that all three of these proteins increased in response to the norepinephrine," Yang explained, adding that in the C81
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Contact: Ronald Glaser
glaser.1@osu.edu
614-292-5526
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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