How colon cancer cells help their neighbors survive

ADying colon cancer cells apparently help their neighboring cells to protect themselves from drugs. That’s what researchers at Frankfurt’s Georg-Speyer-Haus and Goethe University found out. The team led by Florian Greten and Mark Schmitt sees this as an explanation for the resistance of advanced intestinal tumors to common chemotherapy.

The scientists found that colon cancer cells treated with cytostatics release adenosine triphosphate when they die. This compound, also known as the cellular “energy currency”, serves as a messenger substance here. It docks onto the receptors of the neighboring tumor cells and sets in motion a signaling pathway that enables the cells to survive.

Efficiency of chemotherapy is increased many times over

In preclinical experiments, Greten and Schmitt were able to show that the efficiency of chemotherapy is increased many times over if communication between the dying cells and their neighbors is stopped. According to Schmitt, the results provide a “promising starting point” to develop new combination therapies for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer. The researchers now want to test their therapy approach on patients in collaboration with the Frankfurt Cancer Institute.

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