How tumors invade and destroy tissues

2017

Challenge

Malignant tumors invade and destroy organs by dissolving the connective tissue that maintains the structural integrity of the organ. How tumors orchestrate this process has remained incompletely understood, and more information could help doctors interrupt tumor growth and save lives.

Advance

IRP researchers led by Thomas H. Bugge, Ph.D., took advantage of recent advances in microscopy to directly visualize how tumors dissolve connective tissue in mice. They found that the tumor cells recruit immune cells from the bloodstream to destroy connective tissue.

Impact

By increasing our understanding of how malignant tumors spread in the body, this discovery may ultimately lead to the development of new cancer treatments that slow or halt that process. 

Publications

Madsen DH, Jürgensen HJ, Siersbæk MS, Kuczek DE, Grey Cloud L, Liu S, Behrendt N, Grøntved L, Weigert R, Bugge TH. (2017). Tumor-associated macrophages derived from circulating inflammatory monocytes degrade collagen through cellular uptake. Cell Rep. Dec 26;21(13):3662-3671. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.12.011.