Research ArticleCancer

Reactivation of dormant tumor cells by modified lipids derived from stress-activated neutrophils

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Science Translational Medicine  02 Dec 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 572, eabb5817
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abb5817

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Stressed Neutrophils are a Tumor’s Alarm Clock

Tumors can recur years after a seemingly successful treatment, and this may be caused by residual tumor cells remaining dormant throughout the body. In this study, Perego et al. developed a mouse model to investigate the mechanism of tumor cell reactivation, finding that reactivation was dependent on neutrophils and stress hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol. Inducing stress in mice by immobilizing them resulted in tumor cell reactivation, whereas treating mice with β-blockers to inhibit stress hormone signaling prevented tumor cell reactivation. Last, the authors found an association between serum concentrations of stress-associated proteins and earlier tumor recurrence after surgical resection in a cohort of patients with lung cancer. Thus, pharmacologically inhibiting stress hormone signaling with β-blockers may help to prevent tumor recurrence.

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