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Cancer wasting due in part to tumor factors that block muscle repair, study shows
Date:10/23/2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio A new study reveals that tumors release factors into the bloodstream that inhibit the repair of damaged muscle fibers, and that this contributes to muscle loss during cancer wasting. The condition, also called cancer cachexia, accompanies certain types of cancer, causes life-threatening loss of body weight and lean muscle mass, and is responsible for up to one-in-four cancer deaths. There is no treatment for the condition.

The study was led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC James), and it points to new strategies and new drug targets for treating cancer cachexia.

The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The researchers looked at muscle stem cells, which are also called satellite cells. These cells are associated with muscle fibers and are essential for repairing damaged fibers. Normally, damage to muscle fibers causes these stem cells to proliferate and to differentiate into mature muscle cells. These muscle cells then fuse with damaged surrounding fibers to limit muscle wasting. This process is blocked during cancer cachexia, the researchers say.

"Our study showed that although muscle stem cells are activated during cachexia, factors released by the tumor block these cells from differentiating into muscle cells, which leaves them unable to repair cachectic muscle fibers," says principal investigator Denis Guttridge, PhD, professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and a member of the OSUCCC James Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program.

"By identifying agents that overcome the block and allow muscle stem cells to differentiate, it might be possible to restore muscle mass and enhance the quality of life of cancer patients with cachexia," he says.

For this study, Guttridge and his colleagues used animal models and
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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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