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Some Tumors Found to Contain Factors that May Suppress Metastasis

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 29 Nov 2011
Scientists are closer to determining what drives tumor metastasis, as laboratory mice models suggest there are factors inside tumors that can inhibit their own growth.

In the November 15, 2011, issue of the Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Raúl A. Ruggiero, PhD, a biologic researcher at the division of experimental medicine at the National Academy of Medicine in Buenos Aires, Argentina, described this innovative process.

Dr. Ruggiero and colleagues used bioanalytic techniques of ion electrospray mass and tandem mass spectrometry to identify the aspects that lead to metastasis resistance in laboratory models of localized cancer, a phenomenon called “concomitant tumor resistance” in which factors in a tumor can inhibit its own metastasis. “The main cause of death in cancer patients is associated much more with metastasis rather than with the growth of a localized tumor, which generally can be surgically removed,” he said.

Dr. Ruggiero’s laboratory found that the presence of variant forms of the amino acid tyrosine were responsible for concomitant tumor resistance. In tumor models where these variants of tyrosine were present, the localized tumor did not tend to metastasize as fast as tumors lacking the variants.

Currently, tumor metastasis is treated with a variety of chemotherapy regimens, but Dr. Ruggiero said the results of this sort of treatment are usually disappointing. He hopes that these tyrosine variants could be developed as a simple and safe type of therapy to block metastatic growth. “Both meta- and ortho-tyrosine have many attractive features. They exert antitumor effects at very low concentrations, are naturally produced in the proper tumor-bearing organism, and do not appear to exert any toxic side effects,” remarked Dr. Ruggiero. “If these findings are confirmed, we could develop new and more harmless means to manage malignant disease.”

Related Links:
American Association for Cancer Research



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Image: representation of a protein (blue), which contains three zinc fingers in complex with DNA (orange). The coordinating amino acid residues and zinc ions (green) are highlighted (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

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