Immune Cells Contribute to Cancer Progression and Proliferation

Tuesday, 04/05/2010  |   Cancer Process  |  no comments

Immune Cells Contribute to Cancer Progression and Proliferation

Fresh data on pancreatic cancer are presented in the report ‘Crosstalk between mast cells and pancreatic cancer cells contributes to pancreatic tumour progression.’ In this recently published study, investigators in the United States conducted a study “To assess the clinical and pathologic significance of mast cell infiltration in human pancreatic cancer and evaluate crosstalk between mast cells and cancer cells in vitro. Immunohistochemistry for tryptase was done on 53 pancreatic cancer specimens.” A mast cell (or mastocyte) is a resident cell of several types of tissues and contains many granules rich in histamine and heparin. Although best known for their role in allergy and anaphylaxis, mast cells play an important protective role as well, being intimately involved in wound healing and defence against pathogens.

“Mast cell counts were correlated with clinical variables and survival. Serum tryptase activity from patients with cancer was compared with patients with benign pancreatic disease. In vitro, the effect of pancreatic cancer-conditioned medium on mast cell migration was assessed. The effect of conditioned medium from the human mast cell line, LAD-2, on cancer and normal ductal cell proliferation was assessed by thymidine incorporation. Matrigel invasion assays were used to evaluate the effect of mast cell-conditioned medium on cancer cell invasion in the presence and absence of a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor, GM6001. Mast cell infiltration was significantly increased in pancreatic cancer compared with normal pancreatic tissue (11.4 +/-6.7 versus 2.0 +/-1.4, p<0.001). Increased infiltrating mast cells correlated with higher grade tumours (p <0.0001) and worse survival. Patients with pancreatic cancer had elevated serum tryptase activity (p <0.05). In vitro, AsPC1 and PANC-1 cells induced mast cell migration. Mast cell-conditioned medium induced pancreatic cancer cell migration, proliferation, and invasion but had no effect on normal ductal cells. Furthermore, the effect of mast cells on cancer cell invasion was, in large part, matrix metalloproteinase-dependent. Tumour-infiltrating mast cells are associated with worse prognosis in pancreatic cancer," wrote M.J. Strouch and colleagues, Northwestern University, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Also see Tryptase-positive mast cells increased with tumor progression and were close to newly formed blood vessels (Benítez-Bribiesc et al 2001). PMID: 11457936 <>
The researchers concluded: “In vitro, the interaction between mast cells and pancreatic cancer cells promotes tumour growth and invasion.”

Strouch, Matthew J; Cheon, Eric C; Salabat, Mohammad R; Krantz, Seth B; Gounaris, Elias; Melstrom, Laleh G; Dangi-Garimella, Surabhi; Wang, Edward; Munshi, Hidayatullah G; Khazaie, Khashayarsha; Bentrem, David J. Crosstalk between mast cells and pancreatic cancer cells contributes to pancreatic tumour progression. Clinical Cancer Research, 2010;16(8):2257-65)
Benítez-Bribiesca, L., Wong, A., Utrera, D. & Castellanos, E. The role of mast cell tryptase in neoangiogenesis of premalignant and malignant lesions of the uterine cervix. J Histochem Cytochem. 2001 Aug;49(8):1061-2.

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