Researchers have found out that two molecules join forces to help cancer cells survive when they spread due to metastasis. In metastasis, cancer cells tend to break away from the original tumor, which travels through the blood or lymph system and forms a new tumor in other organs or tissues of the body.
It is the process by which cancer cells break away from the primary tumor and spread to other parts of the body through the lymph or bloodstream.
When cancer spreads, the disease becomes more challenging to treat. Radiotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and other treatments can have success for some metastatic cancers, but usually, the opinion is poor.
For example, a woman with breast cancer with a 5-year survival rate having cancer, which has not metastasized, is 61 percent. This falls to just 6 percent for women whose breast cancer has spread to other body parts such as the lungs, or bones, or lymph nodes.
Now scientists are working hard to find ways to prevent cancer from spreading in the first place, and this recent study shows a promising treatment that does just that.
The new defense signaling process within cancer cells has been discovered. Dr. Stéphanie Kermorgant, of the Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary University London (QMUL), and colleagues have set out to see what happens when cancer cells break away from tumors in cell cultures.
They have discovered that integrins proteins on the surface of a cell that binds and communicate with its surroundings play a vital role in the survival of cancer cells after they are detached from a primary tumor.
The team explains that integrins are known to engage in inside-out” and “outside-in” signaling that helps cancer cells bind to their surrounding environment.
Regardless of that, they have found out that when cancer cells travel during metastasis, the integrins adopts “inside-in” signaling, in which a form of defense signaling occurs within the cell.