New research finds that fluid shear stresses inside the abdomen may promote cancer’s spread by fostering chromosomal changes in normal cells and encouraging cancerous cells to cluster in immune-resistant spheroids.
The research is still preliminary, says Eva Schmelz, a professor in the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech, but if researchers can uncover the molecular mechanisms that cause mechanical stresses to play out in cellular processes, they might be able to slow the spread of difficult-to-detect cancers like ovarian cancer.
The peritoneal cavity that surrounds the abdominal organs is a place of continuous movement. Cells in this cavity are under continual fluid shear stress from the movement of the gastrointestinal tract, the diaphragm, and the abdominal muscles. In patients with ovarian cancer, the amount of fluid in the peritoneal cavity increases, causing abdominal swelling. This condition, called ascites, likely increases fluid shear stress.
When cancer cells break off from their original tumor, they float around in this gently churning stew, Schmelz says, before adhering to new tissues and metastasizing. But almost nothing is known about how mechanical stresses...
Would you like to reuse content from CEP Magazine? It’s easy to request permission to reuse content. Simply click here to connect instantly to licensing services, where you can choose from a list of options regarding how you would like to reuse the desired content and complete the transaction.