Medindia
Advertisement

How Breast Cancer Spreads?

by Colleen Fleiss on February 17, 2019 at 10:38 PM
Font : A-A+

How Breast Cancer Spreads?

A new technology cellular barcoding has been used to tag, track and pinpoint cells responsible for the spread of breast cancer.

The technique also revealed how chemotherapy temporarily shrinks the number of harmful cells, rather than eliminating them, explaining how the cancer could eventually relapse.

Advertisement


Insights from the study, published today in Nature Communications, could lead to new targeted treatments for breast cancer, the most common cancer to affect women.

Dr Delphine Merino, Dr Tom Weber, Professor Jane Visvader, Professor Geoffrey Lindeman and Dr Shalin Naik led the highly collaborative research that involved breast cancer biologists, clinician scientists, biotechnologists and computational experts at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
Advertisement

Pinpointing the 'seeders' of disease

Most deaths from breast cancer are caused by the metastasis, or spread, of cancerous cells from the main tumour site into other organs.

Breast cancers consist of thousands of different cell variants with diverse characteristics that may or may not play a role in the metastasis of the cancer. This makes effective treatment a challenge because it is difficult to know which cells are responsible for driving the spread of cancer.

Dr Merino said the ability to pinpoint the 'clones' - subpopulations of cells arising from an original patient tumour - responsible for the spread of cancer was crucial for improving treatments.

"Our study revealed that only a select few clones were actually responsible for the metastasis. Professor Visvader said the technique also allowed the researchers to see what was happening to the clones after chemotherapy was introduced.

"We used the chemotherapy agent Cisplatin to treat laboratory models developed using donated breast tumour tissue. While the treatment was able to shrink tumours and the size of individual clones, it did not kill them off completely. All the clones, including the nasty seeders, eventually grew again, accounting for cancer relapse.

"These exciting findings would not have been possible without the ability to meticulously barcode and track thousands of individual clones and watch their behaviour over time," she said.

New technique 'tags and tracks'

The cellular barcoding technique used for the study was developed in 2013 by Dr Naik and Professor Ton Schumacher from the Netherlands Cancer Institute.

Dr Naik said this new technique meant researchers could go from studying thousands of clones, to homing in on the select few variants responsible for the spread of cancer.

"Now that we know which clones are involved in the spread of breast cancer, we have the power to really focus our research to block their activity. For instance, we are curious to understand what is unique about these particular clones that enables them to successfully spread, seed and grow the cancer," Dr Naik said.

Enabling a targeted approach to treatment

Professor Visvader said the precision of the approach could pave the way for unravelling important mysteries in the field of breast cancer research and equip scientists with the information needed to design highly targeted treatment strategies for the prevalent disease.

"An important goal is to understand the molecular and cellular basis of how breast cancer spreads and, working with clinician scientists like Professor Lindeman, translate this knowledge from the laboratory into the clinic," she said.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Gonorrhea
World Alzheimer's Day 2021 - 'Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer's
'Hybrid Immunity' may Help Elude COVID-19 Pandemic
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Women and Cancer Breast Biopsy Pagets disease of the breast Mastitis Cancer and Homeopathy Breast Cancer Facts Cancer Facts Cancer Tattoos A Body Art Breasts - Structures and Types 

Recommended Reading
Breast Cancer Management: Advances
The crab that invades the breast is no more a fear factor with all the advancements that medical ......
Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a cancer that affects the breasts or mammary glands. Early detection and lifestyle ...
Quiz on Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among women. It is often said that a ......
Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Calculator
Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Calculator predicts the risk for breast cancer. Find list of breast .....
Breast Biopsy
Breast biopsy involves removing a sample of breast tissue to determine whether it is cancerous or .....
Breasts - Structures and Types
Different stages of breast development in women and an in-depth look at the breast/bust and its ......
Mastitis
Mastitis is a common cause of tenderness, swelling and pain in breast, owing to inflammation in the ...
Pagets disease of the breast
A detailed description of the Paget's disease of the breast, characteristic signs and symptoms, dete...
Tattoos A Body Art
Tattoos are a rage among college students who sport it for the ‘cool dude’ or ‘cool babe’ look...
Women and Cancer
Cancer is one of the frequently talked about and most feared disease that falls under the genre of l...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use