Piggy-backing cells hold clue to skin cancer growth (w/ Video)

July 24, 2014, Cancer Research UK

Skin Cancer cells work together to spread further and faster, according to a new study published in Cell Reports. The discovery could lead to new drugs to tackle melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

Cancer Research UK scientists at The University of Manchester found that some melanoma cells are particularly fast growing, but not very good at invading the surrounding tissue, while other are the opposite – highly invasive but slow-growing.

In a tumour, the faster growing cells 'piggy-back' along with the more invasive cells, so together they can be more effective in establishing a new tumour once they have reached different parts of the body.

The scientists conducted the research using see-through zebra fish so that they could see how the cancer cells moved and expanded from the original tumour.

Dr Claudia Wellbrock, study author and Cancer Research UK scientist at The University of Manchester and a member of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, said: "We used to think that cancer cells spread by first specialising in invading other parts of the body and then change in order to grow rapidly. But this research shows that melanoma can spread by 'co-operative invasion'.

"Different types of with different strengths and weaknesses are both present in the tumour at the same time and can work together to spread faster and more efficiently. This has profound implications for how we find cures for this terrible disease."

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of with around 13,300 people diagnosed in the UK each year.

Worryingly, the incidence rates of have increased more than fivefold since the mid 1970s.

Professor Richard Marais, director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, said: "Malignant melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer precisely because it spreads quickly and aggressively. This kind of research is vital for establishing how this horrible disease spreads around the body and how we might be able to stop it.

"As well as finding more effective treatments for advanced , we also need to stress the importance of early diagnosis, detecting tumours before they have a chance to spread."

Explore further: Researchers discover how 'wriggling' skin cells go on the move

More information: Chapman, A et al. Heterogeneous tumour-subpopulations co-operate to drive invasion (2014). Cell Reports

Related Stories

Researchers discover how 'wriggling' skin cells go on the move

June 26, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, The University of Manchester and King's College London have discovered a new way that melanoma skin cancer cells can invade healthy tissue and ...

New insight into drug resistance in metastatic melanoma

June 3, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A study by scientists in Manchester has shown how melanoma drugs can cause the cancer to progress once a patient has stopped responding to treatment.

Scientists find new way to combat drug resistance in skin cancer

May 22, 2014
Rapid resistance to vemurafenib – a treatment for a type of advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer – could be prevented by blocking a druggable family of proteins, according to research published in Nature ...

Shape-shifting cells help skin cancer spread

June 10, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists have discovered genes that control shape changes in melanoma skin cancer cells, allowing them to wriggle free and spread around the body, according to new research published in Nature Cell Biology.

New clues to skin cancer development show sunscreen is not enough

June 12, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists have shown that sunscreen cannot be relied upon alone to prevent malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, according to research* published in Nature.

Genome sequencing reveals mucosal melanoma's bullseye

June 7, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists may have found a molecular 'bullseye' for a rare form of melanoma, opening up opportunities for new targeted treatment, according to new research being published in the Journal of Pathology today ...

Recommended for you

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

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.