Oxygen deprivation can cause tumor metastasis

Metastases is a popular term among cancer patients wherein a tumor breaks off from the original place and migrates to a different part of the body. This can bring a devastating impact on one’s life while battling cancer. And scientists were always puzzled about the fact how this metastasis actually works since very little was known. Now, scientists at the University of Basel have tried to solve this puzzle by establishing a relationship between tumors and oxygen. They found that separation of these circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is due to a lack of oxygen in the first place. The findings come after a series of experiments in mouse models.

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The experiment was carried out in mouse models based on breast cancers, where the oxygen supply on tumors was analyzed. It was seen that different parts of the tumor receive various levels of oxygen, depending on the blood supply. Proceeding on, they found that CTCs separated from tumors had a similar lack of oxygen. Therefore, this led to the conclusion that these cells separate due to a lack of oxygen. Moreover, they also found that these CTCs are more rapidly migrating in comparison to tumors with normal cell content. Experts say that if tumors lack oxygen, they have a high potential for metastases.

To stop this spread, scientists on the first step wanted to increase the oxygen supply. Therefore, they stimulated the formation of new blood vessels(called proangiogenic therapy), which in turn increased the oxygen supply to these tumor cells. As a result, they found that there were lesser metastases in comparison, and the mouse was able to live longer. Experts are now thinking of replicating these findings to a clinical setup where tumors can vary from people to people. They also speculate on the fact that substances can improve the oxygen supply and inhibit metastases. But time needs to tell us more answers in this regard.

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Source: Medical Xpress

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