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Study reveals new mechanism that might promote cancer's growth and spread in the body
Date:7/10/2012

we can develop new drugs that fight tumors by entering this newly identified breach in cancer's fortress," says co-corresponding author and first author Dr. Muller Fabbri, assistant professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Biology and Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

"Equally exciting, we show that this mechanism involves a fundamental receptor of the immune system, TLR8, suggesting that the implications of this discovery may extend to other diseases such as autoimmune and inflammatory diseases," Fabbri says.

Key findings of the study include the following:

  • Lung tumor cells secrete microRNA-21 and microRNA-29a in vesicles called exosomes, and these exosomes are taken up by immune cells called macrophages located where tumor tissue abuts normal tissue.

  • In human macrophages, microRNA-29a and microRNA-21 bind with TLR8, causing the macrophages to secrete tumor-necrosis-factor alpha and interleukin-6, two cytokines that promote inflammation.

  • Increased levels of the two cytokines were associated with an increase in the number of tumors per lung in an animal model, while a drop in those levels led to a drop in the number per lung, suggesting that they also play a role in metastasis.


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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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