How cancer spreads: Metastatic tumor a hybrid of cancer cell and white blood cell
Yale Cancer Center scientists, together with colleagues at the Denver Police Crime Lab and the University of Colorado, have found evidence that a human metastatic tumor can arise when a leukocyte (white blood cell) and a cancer cell fuse to form a genetic hybrid. Their study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, may answer the question of how cancer cells travel from the primary tumor's site of origin to distant organs and tissues of the body -- the deadly process of metastasis. Such a theory was first proposed as an explanation for metastasis more than a century ago. But until now, the theory was unproven in human cancer because genomic differences between cells from the same patient cannot be distinguished. To get around this problem, the researchers analyzed genomic DNA in the secondary malignancies of a patient who had a melanoma brain metastasis and had received a bone marrow transplant from his brother.
They found signature genes from both the patient and donor together in the tumor cells, providing the first evidence that leukocytes (in this case from the donor) can fuse with cancer cells and initiate a tumor.
"Our results provide the first proof in humans of a theory, proposed in 1911 by a German pathologist, that metastasis can occur when a leukocyte and cancer cell fuse and form a genetic hybrid," said corresponding author John Pawelek, research faculty in the dermatology department of the Yale School of Medicine. "This could open the way to new therapy targets, but much work needs to be done to determine how fusion occurs, the frequency of such hybrids in human cancers, and the potential role of hybrids in metastasis," he added.
First authors are Rossitza Lazova of Yale and Greggory LaBerge of the University of Colorado and Denver Police Department Crime Lab; other authors are Vincent Klump, Mario Sznol, Dennis Cooper, and Joseph Chang of Yale; Eric Duvall of the Denver Police Crime Lab; and Nicole Spoelstra and Richard Spritz of the University of Colorado.
The study was supported by an unrestricted gift from the Amway Corporation and from the University of Colorado Cancer Center NCI Support Grant (P30CA046934).
Source: Yale University
- How cancer spreads: Metastatic tumor a hybrid of cancer cell and white blood cellfrom Science DailyTue, 2 Jul 2013, 15:30:46 EDT
- How the body aids and abets the spread of cancerfrom Science DailyMon, 1 Jul 2013, 21:30:18 EDT
- White blood cells help spread cancer, mouse study showsfrom CBC: HealthMon, 1 Jul 2013, 14:00:19 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Researchers retrieve 'lost' memories
- Severe flooding hits central Texas, Oklahoma
- Study of over 250,000 patients suggests that, before an operation, low blood pressure rather than high is a risk factor for death
- Little-known quake, tsunami hazards lurk offshore of Southern California
- ASCO: Component in green tea may help reduce prostate cancer in men at high risk
- From reverberating chaos to concert halls, good acoustics is culturally subjective
- New survey shows 36-percent increase in pediatric patients treated with proton therapy
- Nearly indestructible virus yields tool to treat diseases
- Cognitive impairment predicts worse outcome in heart failure
- Biodiversity: 11 new species come to light in Madagascar