U-M researchers say common chemotherapy drug enables tumors in bone marrow
Cancer patients treated with a common chemotherapy drug could be more susceptible to cancerous tumor growth in their bone marrow, according to the latest research by scientists at the University of Michigan released today.
The findings suggested that the drug - cyclophosphamide - effectively fertilized the bone marrow, enabling cancerous cells to seed and grow once introduced.
Bone marrow is a common site of metastasis - or spread - of breast and prostate cancer.
Cyclophosphamide therapy is commonly used with some cancers to slow the growth of cancer cells, and has been used for nearly 50 years.
Side effects of the drug - and many other chemotherapy drugs - have been known to suppress certain bone marrow cells that help the immune system.
“This shows, with a drug that has been shown to be effective for targeting the ‘seed’ - or cancer cell - it also makes changes in the ‘soil’ that makes it more favorable for the seed to grow,” McCauley said.
Researchers are hopeful that the study - which used a prostate cancer experimental model in mice - could result in metastasis-prevention drugs, as they were able to inhibit a communicator protein in the bone marrow that prevented the drug from taking effect.
“Cyclophosphamide Creates a Receptive Microenvironment for Prostate Cancer Skeletal Metastasis” was published Tuesday in the journal Cancer Research.
Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at (734) 623-2552, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amywrites_.