Tags: chemo | bone | cancer | spread

Chemo may Promote Cancer Spread

Thursday, 24 May 2012 11:26 AM

Common chemotherapy drugs may actually “fertilize” bone marrow so that cancer cells can more easily spread, take root and grow there, new research has found.
The findings, reported in the journal Cancer Research, may explain why some cancers metastasize to bone and may point the way to new drugs that prevent the growth and spread of cancer.
"This work is early and still at the pre-clinical level," said lead researcher Laurie McCauley, of the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. "However, the biggest potential impact is in metastasis preventive strategies.
"If we better understood the specific mediators, or conditions, in the bone marrow that support tumors, we could develop more effective therapeutics to prevent local cancers from spreading and hence reduce metastasis to the bone."
For the study, researchers conducted experiments with the chemotherapy drug – cyclophosphamide – typically used to slow cancer growth. They treated bone marrow with the drug prior to exposing it experimental tumors. The drug effectively attacks tumor cells, but it also suppresses certain bone marrow cells that help the immune system (as do other chemotherapy agents).
The researchers’ experiments found the drug made the bone marrow more hospitable to cancer growth, but they were also able to reverse that tumor-friendly effect.
Researchers said the findings may lead to new ways to limit the spread of tumors, noting many cancers – including those that strike the breast and prostate – often spread to bones.

© HealthDay

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Some drugs may 'fertilize' bone marrow so cancer cells can more easily spread and grow there.
Thursday, 24 May 2012 11:26 AM
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