A peek into lymph nodes

March 14, 2019

The vast majority of cancer deaths occur due to the spread of cancer from one organ to another, which can happen either through the blood or the lymphatic system. However, it can be tricky to detect this early enough. Researchers at Tohoku University have developed a new method that would allow doctors to detect cancers in the lymph nodes while they are still small, before they travel to other parts of the body. This can greatly increase the chances of a successful treatment.

There aren't many imaging techniques that can detect tumors in lymph nodes before they grow too large, especially in smaller nodes. Biopsies of lymph nodes is a possible option, but it can often give false negative results. So the team wanted to come up with a new method that would accurately detect the earliest stages of a cancer moving to another part of the body, using a technique called x-ray microcomputed tomography (micro-CT).

The team tested their new method on mice with breast cancer cells inserted into their lymph nodes. They injected a contrast agent at a slow, steady pace into the lymph nodes upstream of those carrying the cancer cells. As the contrast agent made its way through the lymphatic system, the researchers were able to map out its movement using micro-CT.

Initially, the researchers did not observe any change in the flow of the contrast agent. However, after 28 days of injecting the cancer cells into the lymph nodes, they had divided and grown to a point where they blocked the flow of the contrast agent, creating empty pockets in the scan that did not have any contrast agent.

By comparing the shape of the lymph node and the areas that contained the contrast agent, the researchers were able to get a clear picture of the presence of cancer cells there.

Next, the researchers would like to hone in on better contrast agents that would offer a clearer, more precise picture of how cancer cells are moving around the lymphatic system. In the future, this technique could be an effective way to detect tumors early before they spread around the body, saving many lives and adding one more tool that doctors can turn to in their fight against cancer.
-end-


Tohoku University

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.