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Cell death linked to tumor growth in prostate cancer patients

A new University of Michigan study identifies the pathway by which this poorly understood action occurs in metastatic prostate cancer cells. This understanding could help researchers develop drugs to block the harmful tumor acceleration, while still allowing the body to clear out the dying cells, said study lead author Hernan Roca, associate research scientist at the U-M School of Dentistry.This process of removing cellular debris is called efferocytosis, and it’s a critical and normal function in both healthy people and those with cancer. These cellular house cleaners are called phagocytes, also known to be the first immune system responders to resolve infections by foreign invading organisms.

The study found that with metastatic prostate cancer cells, efferocytosis produced a pro-inflammatory protein called CXCL5 that isn’t normally released during cellular cleanup in healthy situations. This CXCL5 protein was found to stimulate tumor growth.

When researchers induced cell death in mouse bone tumors, it correlated with an increase of CXCL5, and the growth of tumors with induced cell death accelerated. However, when the CXCL5 protein was blocked in mice, tumor progression was hindered.

Next, researchers took these findings to look at blood samples from human patients with metastatic prostate cancer, and found that their level of inflammatory CXCL5 was higher relative to localized prostate cancer patients, or healthy patients.

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Cell death linked to tumor growth in prostate cancer patients

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