How a sleeping cancer awakens and metastasizes
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IMAGE: Two enzymes called NE (green dots) and MMP9 (red dots) stud the scaffold of DNA NETs expelled by neutrophils, or white blood cells. These enzymes sequentially cleave a protein called… view more 

Credit: Egeblad lab, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Cold Spring Harbor, NY – Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have determined one of the ways in which cancers in remission can spring back into action. This knowledge has inspired a new treatment idea designed to prevent cancer recurrence and metastasis.

Even after successful cancer treatment, dormant, non-dividing cancer cells that previously detached from the original tumor may still exist elsewhere in the body. If awakened, these cells can proliferate and grow into metastatic tumors. A CSHL team studying metastasis to the lungs has now identified signals accompanying inflammation that can awaken dormant cancer cells.

Whether inflammation can directly cause cancer recurrence, and if so how, has not been clear. In their new research, the team demonstrates that sustained lung inflammation, including that caused by tobacco smoke exposure, can cause dormant breast and prostate cancer cells that have traveled to the lungs to awaken and begin to divide. These cells can now form a metastasis in the

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Article originally posted at
www.eurekalert.org

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