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Aspirin could beat cancer spread: Australian study

Feb. 15, 2012 - 11:02 By

 Aspirin and other household drugs may inhibit the spread of cancer because they help shut down the chemical "highways" which feed tumours, Australian researchers said Tuesday.

Scientists at Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said they have made a biological breakthrough helping explain how lymphatic vessels -- key to the transmission of tumours throughout the body -- respond to cancer.

"We've shown that molecules like the aspirin... could effectively work by reducing the dilation of these major vessels and thereby reducing the capacity of tumours to spread to distant sites," researcher Steven Stacker said.

Doctors have long suspected that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin may help inhibit the spread of cancer but they have been unable to pinpoint exactly how this is done.

By studying cells in lymphatic vessels, the researchers found that a particular gene changed its expression in cancers which spread, but not when the cancer did not spread.

The results published in Cancer Cell journal reveal that the gene is a link between a tumour's growth and the cellular pathway which can cause inflammation and dilation of vessels throughout the body.

Once these lymphatic vessels widen, the capacity for them to act as "supply lines" to tumours and become more effective conduits for the cancer to spread is increased.

But aspirin acts to shut down the dilation of the vessels.

"So it seems like we have found a pivotal junction point in a biochemical sense between all these different contributors," Stacker said.

The discovery could lead to new and improved drugs which could help contain many solid tumours, including breast and prostate cancer, as well as potentially provide an "early warning system" before a tumour begins to spread.

Last year, a study published in medical journal The Lancet found that rates of cancer of the colon, prostate, lung, brain and throat were all reduced by daily aspirin use.

Many doctors recommend regular use of aspirin to lower the risk of heart attack, clot-related strokes and other blood flow problems. A downside of extended daily use is the risk of stomach problems. (AFP)


<한글 기사>

아스피린, 암세포 전이 억제

아스피린을 포함한 비스테로이드성 소염진통제( NSAID)가 암세포의 전이를 억제한다는 사실을 입증하는 연구결과가 나왔다.

호주 피터 매캘럼 암센터(Peter MacCallum Cancer Center)의 스티븐 스태커(Ste ven Stacker) 박사는 NSAID가 암세포가 다른 곳으로 이동하는 통로로 이용하기 일쑤 인 림프관의 확장을 억제한다고 밝힌 것으로 AFP통신과 메디컬 뉴스 투데이가 14일(현지시간) 보도했다.

제3의 순환계라고 불리는 림프계를 구성하는 림프관은 신체기관에서 나오는 림프액을 운반해 다시 전신순환계로 내보내는 일을 하지만 암세포가 림프관을 타고 돌

다가 림프절에 제2의 종양을 형성하기도 한다.

스태커 박사는 일부 종양은 단백질성장인자(VEGF-D)를 분비, 림프관을 확장시킴 으로써 암세포의 전이를 용이하게하는데 NSAID가 림프관 확장 메커니즘을 억제하는 작용을 한다는 사실이 밝혀졌다고 말했다.

종양이 방출하는 VEGF-D는 림프관의 확장을 조절하는 프로스타글란딘 경로(pros taglandin pathway)에 작용하고 NSAID는 프로스타클란딘의 합성을 억제함으로써 림프관의 확장을 차단한다고 스캐커 박사는 설명했다.

이 새로운 발견은 암세포의 전이를 차단하기 위한 기존의 치료법을 개선하는 데 도움이 될 것이라고 그는 덧붙였다. 

과학자들은 NSAID가 암세포의 확산을 억제할 가능성이 있는 것으로 오래전부터 생각해왔으나 그 구체적인 메커니즘은 밝혀내지 못했다.

이 연구결과는 암전문지 '암세포(Cancer Cell)' 최신호(2월14일자)에 실렸다.