New paper offers insights into how cancer cells avoid cell death

June 19, 2013 by William G. Gilroy
New paper offers insights into how cancer cells avoid cell death

(Medical Xpress)—A new study by a team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame provides an important new insight into how cancer cells are able to avoid the cell death process. The findings may reveal a novel chemotherapeutic approach to prevent the spread of cancers.

Metastasis, the spread of cancer from one organ to other parts of the body, relies on cancer cells' ability to evade a cell death process called anoikis, according to Zachary T. Schafer, Coleman Assistant Professor of at Notre Dame. Metastasizing cancer cells are able to block anoikis, which normally results from detachment from the extracellular matrix. However, Schafer notes that the molecular mechanisms that cancer cells detached from the extracellular matrix use to survive have not been well understood.

"This paper reveals that cancer cells that are detached from their normal environment, as they would be during metastasis, rely on the activity of antioxidant enzymes to facilitate their survival," Schafer said. "This class of enzymes is critical for neutralizing oxidative stress and function much like the that are present in a variety of healthy foods."

The paper describes a prominent role for antioxidant enzymes in facilitating the survival of after detachment from the . Conversely, the researchers report, silencing antioxidant enzyme expression reduced tumor formation.

"The results in this paper suggest that targeting with novel therapeutics may selectively kill off metastasizing cancer cells," Schafer said.

The paper appears in the current issue of the journal Cancer Research, which is the most frequently cited cancer journal in the world.

More information: cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/73/12/3704.abstract

Related Stories

Researchers discover master regulator in cancer metastasis

June 10, 2013

In the process of metastasis, the movement of cancer cells to different parts of the body, a specific master regulator gene plays a central role: a transcription factor named Sox4 activates a sequence of genes and triggers ...

Developmental protein plays role in spread of cancer

June 14, 2013

A protein used by embryo cells during early development, and recently found in many different types of cancer, apparently serves as a switch regulating the spread of cancer, known as metastasis, report researchers at the ...

Recommended for you

New treatment options for a fatal leukemia

July 27, 2015

In industrialized countries like in Europe, acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common form of cancer in children. An international research consortium lead by pediatric oncologists from the Universities of Zurich and ...

Exciting results from cancer immunoagent study

July 20, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Cancer therapies have improved incrementally over the years, but cancer treatment largely remains analogous to forest fire suppression, in which the spread of fire is contained with deliberate controlled ...

Lymphomas tied to metabolic disruption

July 17, 2015

Researchers from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have found evidence that directly links disrupted metabolism (energy production in cells) to a common and often fatal ...

0 comments

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.