Research ArticleCancer

The systemic response to surgery triggers the outgrowth of distant immune-controlled tumors in mouse models of dormancy

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Science Translational Medicine  11 Apr 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 436, eaan3464
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan3464

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Can wound healing worsen metastasis?

Relatively early metastatic recurrence after primary surgical resection is common in breast cancer patients. This phenomenon could be due to tumor cells released into the circulation during surgery or could be the result of existing metastatic outgrowth. To distinguish between these possibilities, Krall et al. used a common wound-healing model in mice harboring breast cancer cells. In this model, there is no surgery to disturb a primary tumor bed. They discovered that T cells are able to keep distant tumor cells in check, but that inflammation induced during wound healing may disrupt this delicate balance. Anti-inflammatory treatment reduced metastasis in the mice, and existing clinical data also suggest that perioperative anti-inflammatories reduced early metastatic recurrence in breast cancer patients. By separating surgery from resection, these results may explain this curious clinical occurrence.