Cancer cells may evade chemotherapy by going dormant.
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.
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
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