Sumary of Ovarian cancer cells cooperate to metastasize:
- The research, conducted in mice and published in Nature Communications, identifies a transient, cooperative interaction between ovarian cancer cells that allows otherwise nonmetastatic tumor cells to metastasize..
- The team isolated subpopulations of cells from human ovarian tumors and found that none had the ability to form metastatic tumors on its own..
- But when certain subpopulations commingled, a cooperative biochemical interaction between the cells acted as a switch that triggered metastasis..
- “Crosstalk between otherwise innocuous cells within a tumor can play a key role in determining the metastatic capacity of a cancer,”.
- As scientists work to better understand the role of cell diversity within tumors, evidence has hinted that cells can cooperate to increase rates of growth and spread..
- To identify how mixed cancer cells led to tumor spread whereas individual subpopulations did not, the team labeled each clone with a unique DNA barcode and looked at the composition of metastatic tumors..
- This finding, coupled with additional experiments, provided strong evidence that interactions between clonal populations were somehow allowing CL31 cells to become metastatic..
- Genetic analyses revealed that CL31 cells exclusively possessed amplified levels of the gene ERBB2, which encodes a growth factor called HER2 that has been implicated in certain types of breast cancer..
- Notably, when the original tumor was genetically analyzed in bulk, the researchers saw small populations of cells with amplified ERBB2, confirming that the single-cell cloning approach successfully identified rare cells from the original tumor..
- Searching for factors that activate ERBB2 in CL31 cells, the researchers homed in on a signaling protein called amphiregulin, which is found in elevated amounts in advanced ovarian cancers and has been associated with poor prognosis..
- The identification of this previously unknown mechanism driving metastasis now opens new lines of study to better understand the process and find new approaches to control it, the authors said…