IMAGE: These are pathways of early (proliferation) and late (proliferation, invasion and widespread) metastasis. view more
Credit: Study authors working with Cell Metabolism
In nearly 80 percent of women with ovarian cancer, the disease has already spread to the omentum before it was diagnosed. Within the omentum — a large, energy-dense fat pad that covers the intestines — the cancer grows even faster.
In the December 4, 2018 issue of Cell Metabolism, published online August 30, a multi-center research team based at the University of Chicago Medicine describes how rapidly spreading ovarian cancer cells take the next steps. Once they infiltrate the omentum and begin to deplete the fat cells there, the tumor recruits cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). These cells accelerate cancer proliferation and spread by enhancing the mechanisms that cancer cells use, such as increasing blood flow to the tumor, to generate additional energy sources.
In their current study, “Fibroblasts mobilize tumor cell glycogen to promote proliferation and metastasis,” the researchers used a technique called quantitative phosphoproteomics to characterize the reciprocal signaling between human ovarian cancer cells and the CAFs that hasten the spread of abdominal cancers.
When the researchers grew human ovarian cancer cells together with CAFs in
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