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Cancer cells may evade chemotherapy by going dormant.

Posted by Manuela Boyle on 31 March 2021
Cancer cells may evade chemotherapy by going dormant.
Cancer cells can dodge chemotherapy by entering a state that bears similarity to certain kinds of senescence, a type of "active hibernation" that enables them to weather the stress induced by aggressive treatments aimed at destroying them, according to a new study by scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine. These findings have implications for developing new drug combinations that could block senescence and make chemotherapy more effective.
In a study published Jan. 26 in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, the investigators reported that this biologic process could help explain why cancers so often recur after treatment. The research was done in both organoids and mouse models made from patients' samples of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) tumours. The findings were also verified by looking at samples from AML patients that were collected throughout the course of treatment and relapse.
Further research has revealed that inflammation allows cells to go dormant. The investigators tested this hypothesis in the lab and confirmed that giving leukemia cells a strong anti-inflammatory before chemotherapy prevented them from entering senescence, thereby allowing chemotherapy to kill all of the cells.
Importantly, studies published at the same time from two other groups reported that the role of senescence is important not just for AML, but for recurrent cases of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and gastrointestinal cancers as well.

References
Cihangir Duy, Meng Li, Matt Teater, Cem Meydan, Francine E Garrett-Bakelman, Tak C. Lee, Christopher R Chin, Ceyda Durmaz, Kimihito C. Kawabata, Eugen Dhimolea, Constantine S. Mitsiades, Hartmut Doehner, Richard J. D'Andrea, Michael W Becker, Elisabeth M. Paietta, Christopher E Mason, Martin Carroll, Ari M Melnick. Chemotherapy induces senescence-like resilient cells capable of initiating AML recurrence. Cancer Discovery, 2021; candisc.1375.2020 DOI: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-1375

Author:Manuela Boyle
Tags:NewsEvidence Based ResearchCancer

Associations

  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Australasian Integrative Medicine Association
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia