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: Pancreatic cancer breakthrough: Scientists turn cancer cells into normal cells

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

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

HLA expression tied to penile cancer outcomes

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) expression appears to be tied to clinical outcomes in penile cancer, according to a study published in the April issue of The Journal of Urology.

Study points to potential new lung cancer therapy

6 hours ago

New findings about regulation of PD-L1, a protein that allows cancer to evade the immune system, has shown therapeutic promise for several cancers, including the most common form of lung cancer.

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.