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Einstein scientists find crucial molecule involved in spread of breast cancer
Date:6/8/2011

rd and his research team have shown that macrophages immune system cells whose functions include fighting infections actually promote the spread of cancer. His research has shown that macrophages not only assist tumor cells during both intravasation and extravasation but also help those wayward cells take root in their new locations and grow into metastatic tumors. In the current study, Dr. Pollard and colleagues investigated the process by which these macrophages are recruited to metastatic sites and subsequently promote tumor-cell extravasation, seeding and tumor growth.

Using models of human and mouse breast cancer, the researchers demonstrated that when breast tumor cells travel to the lung, these cells secrete CCL2, a chemokine molecule (i.e., one that attracts cells). CCL2 attracts immune cells called inflammatory monocytes -- in particular, those bearing receptors for CCL2, which then develop into macrophages. The monocytes and macrophages "invited" by CCL2 signaling then facilitate extravasation the critical step in metastasis in which bloodborne tumor cells cross the vessel wall and implant in nearby tissue. One way monocytes help tumor cells escape from blood vessels and cause metastasis, the Einstein researchers found, is by secreting vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, a substance that makes blood vessels leaky at the site where tumor cells exit from them.

Once the tumor cells are seeded, inflammatory monocytes continue to flock to the metastatic site now attracted by CCL2 secreted not only by the tumor cells but also by nearby lung tissue that the tumor cells have targeted. In turn, these continuously recruited monocytes and the resultant macrophages promote the growth of the emerging metastatic tumor.

To confirm their findings, the researchers used anti-CCL2 antibodies to suppress CCL2 signaling in a mouse model of human metastasis with striking
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Contact: Kim Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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