A new study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, suggests that inflammation increases the risk of faster cancer growth and metastasis. Metastasis is defined as the spread of cancer cells outside of the cancerous tissue and is responsible for 90 percent of breast cancer deaths despite significant improvements in diagnosis and treatments. The CHI3L1 glycoprotein is associated with an inflammatory response.
Previous research has associated obesity with an increased metabolic response including a high level of inflammation throughout the body.
“Important findings from our research show how pre-existing inflammation may be one of the factors that accelerates metastasis to the inflamed site,” said Vijaya L. Iragavarapu-Charyulu, Ph.D., the principal investigator of the study and associate professor of biomedical science in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “This study may serve as a starting point for future research on how other inflammatory diseases may predispose patients for increased metastasis.”
The research group used a mouse model to test their inflammation theory. One group was genetically modified so it could not produce the CHI3L1 glycoprotein. In mice lacking CHI3L1 expression the cancerous growths did not increase as rapidly and there was less inflammation. These mice also had less metastasis in the lungs.
“In this study, we found that CH13L1 was an important inflammatory protein that promoted tumor growth and metastasis, providing the necessary ‘soil’ or the proper environment for the ‘seeds,’ that is the circulating breast tumor cells,” said Iragavarapu-Charyulu. “We are encouraged by the results of our study and hopeful that it will help us to better develop targeted therapeutics to treat cancer.”
S. Libreros, R. Garcia-Areas, P. Keating, N. Gazaniga, P. Robinson, A. Humbles, V. L. Iragavarapu-Charyulu. Allergen induced pulmonary inflammation enhances mammary tumor growth and metastasis: Role of CHI3L1. Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 2015; 97 (5): 929 DOI: 10.1189/jlb.3A0214-114RR