CHICAGO, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- With metastatic prostate cancer cells, efferocytosis produces a pro-inflammatory protein called CXCL5 that isn't normally released during cellular cleanup in healthy situations, and CXCL5 protein was found to stimulate tumor growth.
This new finding could help researchers develop drugs to block the harmful tumor acceleration, while still allowing the body to clear out the dying cells, according to a report released Tuesday on the website of the University of Michigan.
Researchers at the University of Michigan (UM) induced cell death in mouse bone tumors, and found that it correlated with an increase of CXCL5, and the growth of tumors with induced cell death accelerated. When the CXCL5 protein was blocked in mice, tumor progression was hindered.
Then UM researchers used these findings on blood samples from human patients with metastatic prostate cancer, and found that their level of inflammatory CXCL5 was higher relative to localized prostate cancer patients, or healthy patients.
"In the presence of cancer, uncontrolled cell growth is also accompanied by a high, or significant, amount of cancer cell death," and those dead cells must be removed, said study lead author Hernan Roca, associate research scientist at the UM School of Dentistry.
"The challenge for the future is to understand how to treat these patients to avoid this pro-inflammatory and tumor promoting response, while still preserving the essential function of cell removal," Roca said.
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Monday.