Ovarian cancer cells hijack surrounding tissues to enhance tumor growth

September 4, 2012

Tumor growth is dependent on interactions between cancer cells and adjacent normal tissue, or stroma. Stromal cells can stimulate the growth of tumor cells; however it is unclear if tumor cells can influence the stroma.

In the September issue of the , researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center report that activate the HOXA9 gene to compel to create an environment that supports tumor growth.

Honami Naora and colleagues found that expression of HOXA9 was correlated with poor outcomes in cancer patients and in mice with ovarian tumors. The expression of HOXA9 in ovarian cancer cells caused the cells to produce a protein called TGF-β. TGF-β then induced the surrounding non-cancerous cells to create an environment that supports the tumor. Blocking TGF-β expression in the ovarian cancer cells significantly reduced tumor growth. These findings raise the possibility that drugs targeting TGF-β could be used to treat ovarian cancer.

Explore further: Cancer stem cells recruit normal stem cells to fuel ovarian cancer

More information: HOXA9 promotes ovarian cancer growth by stimulating cancer-associated fibroblasts, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2012.

Related Stories

Fat cells in abdomen fuel spread of ovarian cancer

October 30, 2011

A large pad of fat cells that extends from the stomach and covers the intestines provides nutrients that promote the spread and growth of ovarian cancer, reports a research team based at the University of Chicago in the journal ...

Recommended for you

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.