New paper offers insights into how cancer cells avoid cell death

June 19, 2013 by William G. Gilroy, University of Notre Dame
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.

Explore further: Six2 homeoprotein allows breast cancer cells to detach and metastasize

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

Related Stories

Six2 homeoprotein allows breast cancer cells to detach and metastasize

April 9, 2013
In results presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013, researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center show that the Six2 homeoprotein, while not involved in primary tumor growth, allows cells to detach from substrate ...

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 ...

Breast cancer cells spread by digging their escape route

October 23, 2012
Breast cancer cells puncture  holes into neighbouring tissues and crawl though the spaces they create to spread around the body, according to research published in the Journal of Cell Biology.

Researchers discover protein that may control the spread of cancer

February 26, 2013
Researchers at the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center have uncovered a novel mechanism that may lead to more selective ways to stop cancer cells from spreading. Associate Professor Joe W. Ramos PhD, a cancer biologist at ...

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

Dulling cancer therapy's double-edged sword

January 17, 2018
Researchers have discovered that killing cancer cells can actually have the unintended effect of fueling the proliferation of residual, living cancer cells, ultimately leading to aggressive tumor progression.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

T-cells engineered to outsmart tumors induce clinical responses in relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma

January 16, 2018
WASHINGTON-(Jan. 16, 2018)-Tumors have come up with ingenious strategies that enable them to evade detection and destruction by the immune system. So, a research team that includes Children's National Health System clinician-researchers ...

Researchers identify new treatment target for melanoma

January 16, 2018
Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new therapeutic target for the treatment of melanoma. For decades, research has associated female sex and a history of previous ...

More evidence of link between severe gum disease and cancer risk

January 16, 2018
Data collected during a long-term health study provides additional evidence for a link between increased risk of cancer in individuals with advanced gum disease, according to a new collaborative study led by epidemiologists ...

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.