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Discovered why stress fuels the spread of tumors

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Discovered why stress fuels the spread of tumors

Researchers discover how chronic stress fuels tumor spread

A recent study published in the journal Cancer Cell, led by the American Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, has shed light on the connection between chronic stress and the spread of tumors within the body. This groundbreaking research reveals that stress induces white blood cells called neutrophils to form sticky structures similar to cobwebs, making tissues more susceptible to metastasis.

The study, with lead author Xue-Yan He from the University of Washington, found that chronic stress in mice with cancer led to a fourfold increase in metastases. The key players in this process are stress hormones, known as glucocorticoids, which push neutrophils to create these sticky traps for tumor cells to spread to other tissues.

Removing neutrophils or administering a drug to destroy the webs formed by them prevented the stressed mice from developing more metastases, confirming the critical role of these white blood cells in tumor spread. The research also showed that stress can cause damage even in the absence of tumors, priming tissues to welcome cancer.

According to Mikala Egeblad from Johns Hopkins University, who co-led the study with Linda Van Aelst, stress reduction should be a crucial component of cancer treatment and prevention. The discovery of this mechanism opens the door to new therapies that could slow down or stop the spread of tumors in the early stages, offering hope for improved cancer outcomes in the future.

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