University Of Iowa Researchers Propose A Model To Explain The Spread Of An Eye Cancer

April 03, 1998

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Cancer that develops in one part of the body often spreads to another site in a process called metastasis.

Scientists have not worked out the details to explain how cancer spreads throughout the body or why some forms of the disease distribute to specific organs. However, research conducted at the University of Iowa College of Medicine sheds new light on the mysteries of metastasis.

The work was a collaborative effort between Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, professor and head of anatomy and cell biology, and associate director for basic research at the UI Cancer Center, Dr. Robert Folberg, F.C. Blodi Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and professor of pathology, their colleagues in those departments, and the UI Cancer Center.

The investigators studied a cancer of the eye known as uveal melanoma -- a potentially blinding and fatal form of cancer that tends to spread to the liver. Currently, the most common forms of treatment for the cancer are radiation therapy, which may cause blindness or removal of the eye. The UI research may lead to new forms of vision-sparing treatments that prolong the life of the patients. The findings, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Pathology and illustrated on the journal's cover, may also help scientists better understand the metastatic process.

There are proteins located inside normal cells that help maintain the cell's shape. In some forms of cancer, however, abnormal shape-maintaining proteins appear, thus increasing the likelihood that the cancer will spread. This is true for other forms of cancer, not just uveal melanoma.

The researchers found that malignant eye cells containing the abnormal proteins respond to a substance called hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor, also known as HGF/SF. HGF/SF attracts blood vessels into the tumor and causes the cancer cells to divide, change shape and spread. The liver is a major site of HGF/SF production, and uveal melanoma tends to spread to that organ selectively.

Hendrix believes that this research can help explain how cancer cells begin to invade and distribute throughout the body.

"We hope that this experimental work will provide us and others with data to design new and more effective forms of cancer treatment," Hendrix said.

This work was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute, the National Eye Institute, the University of Iowa Endowment, and Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc.

University of Iowa

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 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