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.