COLUMBUS, Ohio Researchers here have shown that in cell cultures, the stress hormone norepinephrine appears to promote the biochemical signals that stimulate certain tumor cells to grow and spread.
The finding, if verified, may suggest a way of slowing the progression and spread of some cancers enough so that conventional chemotherapeutic treatments would have a better chance to work.
The study also showed that stress hormones may play a completely different role in cancer development than researchers had once thought.
The results appear in the current issue of the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.
We would not be surprised if we see similar effects of norepinephrine on tumor progression in several different forms of cancer, explained Eric Yang, first author of the paper and a research scientist with the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR) at Ohio State University.
Yang and colleague Ron Glaser, a professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, last year showed that the stress hormone norepinephrine was able to increase the production of proteins in cultures of nasopharyngeal carcinoma tumor cells that can foster the aggressive spread of the disease, a process known as metastasis. Glaser is director of the IBMR and a member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State.
In this latest study, the researchers looked at a different type of cancer multiple myeloma. One of several types of cancers of the blood, multiple myeloma strikes nearly 20,000 Americans each year, killing at least half that many annually. Patients diagnosed with this disease normally survive only three to four years with conventional treatments.
Yang and Glaser focused on three multiple myeloma tumor cell lines, each representing a different stage in the life of the disease, for their experiments. While all three tumor cell lines reacted to the presence of norepinephrine, only one,
|Contact: Eric Yang|
Ohio State University