Upcoming Webinars Archived Webinars Training Vitals Host A Webinar About Get Updates Contact

Study Finds Common Chemotherapy Could Contribute to Cancer Metastasis


Cancer Metastasis

In analyzing the breast cancer patient data, the researchers found that patients who were treated using chemotherapy overexpressed a gene known as Atf3.

Share this!

August 9, 2017 | by Sarah Hand, M.Sc.

Chemotherapy drugs are often a key component of cancer treatment, however a new study has found a common chemotherapeutic agent, paclitaxel, could activate a pro-metastasis gene. The findings – published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – may call into question the safety of using paclitaxel to treat ovarian, breast and lung cancers.

Previous research conducted in mouse models, as well as in patients diagnosed with breast cancer, identified an association between the chemotherapeutic drug and cancer metastasis. Using a rodent model and patient data, researchers from Ohio State University in Columbus sought to better understand the molecular mechanisms by which paclitaxel could encourage breast cancer to spread to the lungs.

In analyzing the breast cancer patient data, the researchers found that patients who were treated using chemotherapy overexpressed a gene known as Atf3. The gene codes for a transcription factor that has been identified in a number of different cancer cell types and is involved in cellular stress.

“This gene seems to do two things at once: essentially help distribute the 'seeds' (cancer cells) and fertilize the 'soil' (the lung),” said Dr. Tsonwin Hai, a professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Ohio State University in Columbus.

Hai and his colleagues believe that this overexpressed transcription factor helps to promote the tumor microenvironment at the site of the primary tumor, as well as increase inflammation and reduce cytotoxicity in the lungs, which supports tumor cell growth.

“What is surprising to us is the multitude of pro-cancer effects that paclitaxel has,” Hai told Medical News Today. “It not only enhances the escape of cancer cells from the primary tumor but also facilitates the preparation of distant sites (lung in our case) in such ways that when the cancer cells arrive, they can set up shop and grow.”

The research team admits that their findings cannot prove a causal link between treatment with paclitaxel and cancer metastasis. In addition, their research focused on cancer spread through the blood as opposed the lymphatic system, which is another common route of cancer metastasis.

“Therefore, at this point, we are not suggesting oncologists to change their clinical practices but would suggest that it is prudent to keep our mind open, realizing that chemotherapy can be a double-edged sword,” said Hai. “It's possible there could be a treatment given in conjunction with the chemo that would inhibit this problem by dampening the effect of the stress gene Atf3.”

Keywords:  Chemotherapy, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer


Share this with your colleagues!

Exclusion Criteria for Clinical Trials Poses Major Barrier to Patient Enrollment

August 17, 2017 - UT Southwestern researchers say that clinical investigators continue to increase the number of exclusion criteria, preventing more patients from participating in clinical trials.

Featured In: Clinical Trials News

Targeting Cellular Nitrogen Metabolism Could Offer a New Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer

August 17, 2017 - An enzyme involved in regulating the amount of nitrogen in the cell could be a new drug target for pancreatic cancer, according to researchers from Boston Children's Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Featured In: Life Science News

Regeneron’s Drug for Respiratory Syncytial Virus Fails in Phase III Clinical Trial

August 16, 2017 - Biotechnology company Regeneron has announced it will not continue development of its antibody drug, suptavumab, after a failure in a Phase III clinical trial.

Featured In: Clinical Trials News


One Patient’s Perspective on Clinical Trials


Planning and Conducting Trials of the Latest Immunotherapies

ISO 13485:2016 for Medical Device Manufacturers: Ensuring a Smooth Transition through Effective Preparation

Medical Devices: Reviewing Regulatory Changes in the US and EU

Moving Beyond Regulatory and Performance Metrics in Starting Clinical Trials

Copyright © 2016-2017 Honeycomb Worldwide Inc.