Study supports century-old cancer theory

Dec 12, 2005

A Yale study challenges oncology researchers to consider tumor cell hybridization with white blood cells as a major reason cancer metastasizes.

"Cancer cells exhibit a remarkable number of traits normally attributed to white blood cells known as macrophages, including the ability to migrate to lymph nodes and distant organs and to form a new blood supply," said lead author John Pawelek in Yale's school of medicine. "Our data indicate they do this by hybridizing with macrophages."

Pawelek said the idea of white blood cells hybridizing with tumor cells is not new. During the early 1900's the German pathologist Otto Aichel proposed metastasis is caused by cancer cells fusing with macrophages.

"There is now evidence to support all aspects of his proposition," said Pawelek. "Macrophages are among the most motile cells we have. By co-opting the macrophage's ability to move, the hybrid is very different from the original cancer cell. It is able to migrate away from the primary site of tumor formation and take up residence in other areas of the body while it continues to divide."

The study appears in the December issue of Lancet Oncology.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers outline recommendations to improve scientific decision-making

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

British weather set to become more unsettled

1 hour ago

The new research, published today (9 September 2014) in the International Journal of Climatology, shows that weather patterns over the UK have become distinctly more unstable, resulting in contrasting conditions from very m ...

Amid high expectations, Apple to unveil new devices

1 hour ago

Apple pulls back the curtain Tuesday on its latest innovations, amid frenzied anticipation over new big-screen iPhones and possibly an "iWatch" which could shake up the world of wearable computing.

Recommended for you

When rulers can't understand the ruled

11 hours ago

Johns Hopkins University political scientists wanted to know if America's unelected officials have enough in common with the people they govern to understand them.

When casualties increased, war coverage became more negative

15 hours ago

As the number of U.S. casualties rose in Afghanistan, reporters filed more stories about the conflict and those articles grew increasingly negative about both the war effort and the military, according to a Penn State researcher. ...

User comments : 0