Breast Cancer Cells Promote Metastasis Through Lymphatic Cells

Breast Cancer Cells Promote Metastasis Through Lymphatic Cells
Researchers in the laboratory of Alexander S. Popel, PhD, at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are finding ways of preventing breast cancer metastasis. After discovering breast cancer cells can enable their own spread by affecting cells of the lymphatic vessels, Dr. Popel's team conducted in vitro and in vivo experiments to put a halt to this phenomenon. "Conventionally, lymphatic vessels are regarded mainly as passive conduits through which tumor cells spread from the primary tumor and eventually metastasize," said Dr. Popel in a news release from Johns Hopkins Medicine. "However, we now know that lymphatic vessels enable metastasis, and other studies also show that they play an important role in whether or not immune cells recognize and attack cancer cells." It all starts with breast cancer cells releasing signaling molecules that affect lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) in the lungs and lymph nodes. In response to the signals, LECs produce CCL5 and VEGF, proteins that attract tumor cells and increase the number and porosity of blood vessels, respectively. This
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