CHAPEL HILL – University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have found that by helping to form clots within tumors, immune cells that flock to a particular type of lung cancer are actually building a foundation for the tumor to spread within the body.
In the journal Nature Communications, researchers report for a particular subset of lung cancer tumors, there is a high prevalence of immune cells called inflammatory monocytes. These immune cells, which normally help to build clotting scaffolds to promote wound healing, also make it possible for tumor cells to migrate and spread to other parts of the body.
“The way that these immune cells promote lung cancer metastases was very unexpected. They produce a large amount of a factor that leads to clot in the tumor, which the tumor cells can latch onto and climb across to spread in the body,” said UNC Lineberger’s Chad Pecot, MD, assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology and Oncology and the study’s corresponding author. “Our goal is to use this information to teach the cancer ‘wounds’ to heal themselves.”
Previous studies have classified lung squamous carcinoma – which accounts for about 30 percent
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