Yet another new study published in Science Translational Medicine shows that chemotherapy promotes cancer metastasis.
Cancers figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Between 2005 and 2015, cancer cases increased by 33 percent and the number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next just two decades under the current global disease promoting paradigm.
A 14-year study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in December 2004 called “The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies” showed that the overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1 % in The USA.
Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer and the idea that while trying to make it better we are actually making it WORSE is undoubtedly terrifying for everyone.
Researchers tested the effects of a type of chemotherapy on tissue collected from men with prostate cancer, and found “evidence of DNA damage” in healthy cells after treatment, the scientists wrote in Nature Medicine. The scientists found that healthy cells damaged by chemotherapy secreted more of a protein called WNT16B which boosts cancer cell survival.
Science Translational Medicine Study
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is the first line of medical intervention against breast cancer — it is the first treatment prescribed to patients who are diagnosed with the disease. Usually, the strategy is to use the poison to shrink the tumor before surgery, when the bulk of the cancer is cut off.
Cancer cells are different from every other cell type in the body because they are dividing very quickly and uncontrollably. Chemotherapy harms other cells in the body that also divide quickly — such as cells in the hair follicles, which is why chemo patients often lose their hair. However, the main tumor body is not necessarily the most dangerous aspect of cancer. 90% of patients that pass away from cancer do so because the cancer has spread throughout the body to other organs and tissues.
For example, breast cancer cells can get into the bloodstream and get transported to the bones, to the lungs and to the liver. This process in known as metastasis and is unquestionably the most dangerous side of cancer. Unfortunately, in many cases after the cancer is removed and the patient undergoes more chemotherapy there will be signs that some cancer cells have escaped the surgery and have started growing elsewhere. It might take a long time — even decades is some cases, but metastasis is sadly a very common occurrence.
The authors of the study in STM use an interesting and relatively novel marker of metastasis which is called tumor microenvironment of metastasis — TMEM for short. Each TMEM site is a spot where cancer cells are likely to make a transition between the tissue they are from and the bloodstream — which acts as a very effective transportation system to carry cancer cells throughout the body. Ingeniously, in this particular piece of research scientists use three molecules that are known to be very highly present at TMEM sites.
Therefore, counting the number of spots where these molecules are highly expressed is a by-proxy way of measuring how many opportunities breast cancer cells have to make that fatal move out of the breast tissue and into the bloodstream. The study also shows that neoadjuvant chemotherapy increases the number of TMEM sites — which means there is an increased risk for cancer cells to metastasize. Given these data it is unsurprising that in the mice that are used as a model in this study the use of chemotherapy leads to an increased amount of metastasis.