Cancer Cell: Chronic stress promotes cancer metastasis, study finds 

February 23, 2024  16:19

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, USA, have discovered that stress causes blood cells called neutrophils to form sticky, mesh-like structures that make tissues more susceptible to cancer metastases.

The results of this study were published in the journal Cancer Cell.

In the study, scientists subjected a group of laboratory mice with breast cancer to special conditions to simulate chronic stress. The researchers then took blood samples from the rodents to assess metabolic changes in their bodies. Tests have shown that when stressed, white blood cells called neutrophils begin to clump together and form sticky, mesh-like structures.

Also, the scientists found that the formation of such structures in tissues makes them vulnerable to cancer metastases. This was evidenced by the transfer of cancer cells from the chest area to the lungs of rodents.

The net-like structures created by neutrophils are called networks or extracellular traps of neutrophil cells. They act as a kind of net to "catch" invading pathogenic microorganisms. But in the case of cancer, such networks create a favorable environment for metastases.

The researchers have suggested that the development of new drugs that target neutrophil cell traps could improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment once the disease has not metastasized.

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