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April 5, 2005

Angiogenesis, Tumors, and Lymph Nodes: VEGF-A may help tumors prepare the way for spread to lymph nodes

Topics: Medicine

The good news about the bad news is that newly discovered mechanisms can often result in new targets, and in this case could result in preventing the further spread of metastatic cancer.

The production of the protein VEGF-A, already known for it's ability to stimulate the growth of blood vessels associated with tumors, has now been shown to also promote the development of lymphatic vessels that can carry cancer cells to lymph nodes, and can actually prepare the way for tumor metastasis by inducing new lymphatic vessels to grow within the nodes even before a secondary tumor has developed.

"This observation is our most surprising and exciting finding," says Michael Detmar, MD, of the MGH Cutaneous Biology Research Center, the study's senior author. "It's a new twist to the 'seed and soil' hypothesis, which postulates that distinct cancer types preferentially metastasize to organs that are optimally suited for them. Our results indicate that the 'seeds' can actively modify the 'soil' and prepare it for later metastatic arrival."

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Cross posted at NewHopeBlog

Posted by Hyscience at April 5, 2005 4:27 PM

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