Scientists representing the University of Basel (Switzerland) concluded that metastases are formed as a result of a lack of oxygen in the tissues. Experts shared the results of the study, which tells about a new way to prevent the development of fatal stages of cancer, with the publication Cell Reports.
During the experiment, the researchers found out the level of O2 supply to malignant tissues of the breast tumor, which was transplanted to rodents, and monitored the formation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), detached from the primary focus and migrating to other tissues through the circulation. The experts found that different areas of the tumor have different oxygen supply. Most often, hypoxia was detected in places with a smaller accumulation of blood vessels.
When CSCs accumulated, there was a shortage of O2. Experts said that as a result of hypoxia, cancer cells leave a tumor and penetrate tissues that are rich in oxygen. Also, CTCs formed as a result of oxygen starvation metastasized much faster and reduced the survival rate of animals. To reduce the risk of developing secondary tumor foci, the researchers created new vessels. As a result of the tests, it was found that the number of CTC clusters decreased, the mice formed fewer cancer cells and they were able to live longer, but the tumor became larger. Experts believe that with the help of the results of the experiment, it will be possible to create new clinical approaches to prevent the spread of metastases.