Cellular communication in the cancer microenvironment

Jan 16, 2010

In the February 1st issue of G&D, Dr. Johanna Joyce and colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center lend new insight into the mechanism by which tumor-associated macrophages promote malignant progression.

Innate immune , including macrophages, comprise a large fraction of the cellular environment that infiltrates tumors - the so-called " microenvironment". Tumors have a dynamic relationship with their microenvironment, communicating via secreted factors to modulate cellular growth and progression.

In their upcoming G&D paper, Dr. Joyce and colleagues delineate how tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) promote tumor growth and invasion. The researchers found that macrophage cells infiltrating pancreatic, mammary and lung tumors produce high levels of the proteases cathepsin B and S (Cts B and S), which enhances tumor growth and invasion. Interestingly, the researchers discovered that increased Cts B and S activity is stimulated by the tumors, themselves - through the release of (IL)-4.

The study is highly anticipated because it provides novel and compelling evidence for the therapeutic targeting of the tumor microenvironment -- specifically TAMs -- to disrupt communication and ultimately impede cancer progression.

Dr. Joyce is optimistic that "the identification of factors that are differentially produced by conscripted cells in the tumor microenvironment provides a strategy to selectively target these cells in combination with targeting the cancer cells, an approach that could have significant therapeutic potential."

Explore further: Prosocial internet support group not beneficial for breast cancer

More information: The paper will be made available online ahead of print at www.genesdev.org.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dendritic cells stimulate cancer-cell growth

Nov 17, 2006

Since their discovery at Rockefeller University some 30 years ago, dendritic cells have been recognized as key players on the immune-system team, presenting antigens to other immune cells to help them respond to novel insults. ...

Lung cancer cells activate inflammation to induce metastasis

Dec 31, 2008

A research team from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has identified a protein produced by cancerous lung epithelial cells that enhances metastasis by stimulating the activity of inflammatory cells. ...

Recommended for you

Immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in brain cancers

20 hours ago

New evidence that immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in glioblastoma and brain metastases was presented today by Dr Anna Sophie Berghoff at the ESMO Symposium on Immuno-Oncology 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

New model of follow up for breast cancer patients

23 hours ago

Public health researchers from the University of Adelaide have evaluated international breast cancer guidelines, finding that there is potential to improve surveillance of breast cancer survivors from both a patient and health ...

User comments : 0

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.