Washington, April 27 (IANS) Biologists and physicists in the US have shown that cancer cells that separate or drift off from the tumor site are more dangerous than non-malignant cells, according to a study.
Cancer cells that can break out of a tumor and invade other organs are more aggressive and nimble than nonmalignant cells, according to a new multi-institutional nationwide study. These cells exert greater force on their environment and can more easily maneuver small spaces.
The researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports that a systematic comparison of metastatic breast-cancer cells to healthy breast cells revealed dramatic differences between the two cell lines in their mechanics, migration, oxygen response, protein production and ability to stick to surfaces, reports Science Daily.
The researchers discovered new insights into how cells make the transition from nonmalignant to metastatic, a process that is not well understood.
The resulting catalogue of differences could someday help researchers detect cancerous cells earlier and someday prevent or treat metastatic cancer, which is responsible for 90 percent of all cancer deaths, according to the study.
It was conducted by a network of 12 federally funded Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OC) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. The PS-OC is a collaboration of researchers in the physical and biological sciences seeking a better understanding of the physical and chemical forces that shape the emergence and behaviour of cancer.