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Neoadjuvant treatment complication studied

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019

A recent study has identified a new link between chemotherapy for breast cancer and the spread of the disease.

A research team led by Professor Michele De Palma at The Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, looked at the changes that take place following neoadjuvant chemotherapy – given in advance of surgery.

Reporting in Monday's (31 December) Nature Cell Biology, they explore biological changes that can mean the treatment increases the risks from tumours that do not respond.

Tumours that respond well to this chemotherapy are unlikely to recur - but resistant tumours can develop an increased risk of metastasising to other organs, such as bones or the lungs, they say.

The researchers tested two common chemotherapy drugs, paclitaxel and doxorubicin, on mice with mammary tumours. The tumours reacted by releasing a type of vesicle, or cell structure, called exosomes.

Comparing samples from tumours treated with and without chemotherapy, only those exposed to the drugs showed the protein annexin-A6 in their exosomes.

The team report that release of annexin-A6 into exosomes "is significantly enhanced in response to chemotherapy".

Following this, the exosomes circulate in the blood and can release annexin-A6 in the lungs, which in turn causes the release of a protein called CCL2. This protein attracts monocytes from the immune system which can support the survival and growth of cancerous cells in the lung.

Professor De Palma says: "In short, our study has identified a new link between chemotherapy and breast cancer metastasis."

However, he adds: "At the moment we don't know if annexin-A6 has any pro-metastatic activity in human breast cancer."

Keklikoglou, I .et al. Chemotherapy elicits pro-metastatic extracellular vesicles in breast cancer models. Nature Cell Biology 31 December 2018; doi: 10.1038/s41556-018-0256-3

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41556-018-0256-3

Tags: Cancer | Europe | Pharmaceuticals | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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