Scientists pinpoint surprising origin of melanomaOctober 12, 2017
Led by Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB-KU Leuven), a team of researchers has tracked down the cellular origin of cutaneous melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The team was surprised to observe that these very aggressive tumors arise from mature, pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. As melanoma develops, these cells are eventually reprogrammed, lose their differentiated features and become invasive, migratory cancer cells. This knowledge is vital to understand how these melanoma lesions are formed, facilitate their early detection and develop preventive treatment avenues. The results of the study are published in the academic journal Cell Stem Cell.
Although cutaneous melanoma is common and often fatal, the precise cellular origin of this malignant cancer has been under debate for quite some time. Prof. Marine and his team generated a refined mouse model that faithfully reproduces the early stages of melanoma development in humans. The researchers used single-cell tracking and profiling approaches and live imaging techniques to identify the earliest cellular origin of melanoma and monitor the changes that these cells experience as they first become malignant and then transform into invasive cancer cells.
Pigmented melanocytes identified as cancerous culprits
Mature melanocytes, which produce pigments in the upper layer of the skin, contribute to melanoma formation. These highly specialized cells, which normally do not divide, did divide when exposed to a specific melanoma-causing mutation. The researchers observed them covering the entire topmost layer of the skin and forming benign lesions before changing their appearance. The cells progressively lost the characteristics that make them melanocytes. At that point, they began invading deeper skin layers as migratory and invasive cancer cells.
Prof. Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB-KU Leuven): "Unexpectedly, this ability to divide and contribute to melanoma development contrasted with the activities of other cell populations, such as melanocyte stem cells found in hair follicles, for instance. Because these other skin cell types showed no signs of expansion or transformation, our analysis highlights pigment-producing cells as the originators of melanoma."
Microenvironmental cues play a role
The study suggested that microenvironmental cues dictate the cell of origin of melanoma. Factors secreted by the locations containing non-pigmented melanocytes, such as melanocyte stem cells, appear to be able to suppress early cancer development. Identifying these factors will require additional studies, which may ultimately lead to the identification of novel anti-melanoma therapeutics.
Prof. Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB-KU Leuven): "Importantly, our work also provides clear evidence that non-dividing, differentiated cells with highly specialized functions can be genetically reprogrammed later in life to become cancer-causing cells."
Buying valuable time for patients
There is clear evidence that thin, early-stage melanomas have better prognoses, since surgical removal at this stage is extremely effective. The identification of the cancer cell of origin has important clinical implications, as it enables doctors to detect malignancies earlier and predict tumor behavior more accurately.
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Related Cancer Articles:
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer?
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs.
The Cancer Research Institute, the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, and the American Association for Cancer Research will join forces to sponsor the first International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, Sept.
Related Cancer Reading:
The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Second Edition: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery
by Rebecca Katz (Author), Mat Edelson (Author)
This new and revised edition of the IACP award-winning cookbook brings the healing power of delicious, nutritious foods to those whose hearts and bodies crave a revitalizing meal, through 150 new and updated recipes.
Featuring science-based, nutrient-rich recipes that are easy to prepare and designed to give patients a much-needed boost by stimulating appetite and addressing treatment side effects including fatigue, nausea, dehydration, mouth and throat soreness, tastebud changes, and weight loss. A step-by-step guide helps patients nutritionally prepare for all phases of... View Details
F*ck Cancer: A totally inappropriate self-affirming adult coloring book (Totally Inappropriate Series) (Volume 4)
by Jen Meyers (Author)
*A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to support research dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. Because fuck cancer.
This book is for you.
If you are fighting cancer, this is for you. If your brother, sister, mom, dad, son, daughter, relative, or friend is fighting cancer, this is for you. If you've lost someone to cancer like I have, this is for you. If cancer affects your life in any way, this is for you.
The stress of cancer can feel crushing. But perhaps this book can help you get away from it all, if only for a little... View Details
The Truth about Cancer: What You Need to Know about Cancer's History, Treatment, and Prevention
by Ty M Bollinger (Author)
Cancer touches more lives than you may think. According to the World Health Organization, one out of three women alive today, and one out of two men, will face a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.
To Ty Bollinger, this isn’t just a statistic. It’s personal. After losing seven members of his family to cancer over the course of a decade, Ty set out on a global quest to learn as much as he possibly could about cancer treatments and the medical industry that surrounds the disease. He has written this book to share what he’s uncovered—some of which may shock you—and to give you... View Details
The Cancer Revolution: A Groundbreaking Program to Reverse and Prevent Cancer
by Leigh Erin Connealy (Author)
When it comes to cancer, conventional doctors are trained to treat their patients exclusively with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. These methods are grueling on the whole body - and they don't treat beyond the tumor or the cancer itself. The focus is on the disease, not the whole person - and because of this, the outcomes in conventional medicine can be bleak.
But it doesn't have to be this way. Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy has developed a whole-person approach to treating cancer - and these treatments have helped thousands of patients through her Cancer Center for Healing. In... View Details
Cancer: 50 Essential Things to Do: 2013 Edition
by Greg Anderson (Author)
The ground-breaking classic guide to surviving cancer?now completely updated!
Revised and updated for the first time since 1999, this invaluable guide to cancer recovery offers an easily accessible plan for patients and family members. Written by a cancer survivor, the book is an inspiring, action-oriented roadmap for those who choose to adopt a stance of hope and take charge of their diagnosis.
With penetrating insights that bring together more than two decades of scientifically supported research and experience, Anderson reveals a step-by-step holistic action plan... View Details
Cancer Hates Tea: A Unique Preventive and Transformative Lifestyle Change to Help Crush Cancer
by Maria Uspenski (Author), Dr. Mary L. Hardy (Foreword)
Drink Tea to Tell Cancer ‘Hit the Road’
Become a tea lover with a purpose and help your body defend itself against cancer. Learn to embrace tea in all its varieties― green, white, black, pu-erh, herbal and more―as both a mental and physical experience to protect your health. Discover the history, growing information and health implications of each variety, as well as uniquely delicious methods to boost your intake with serving suggestions, food pairings and recipes that highlight the benefits of tea.
After her own battle with cancer, Maria Uspenski extensively... View Details
Anticancer: A New Way of Life
by David Servan-Schreiber MD PhD (Author)
The revolutionary, New York Times bestselling guide to the powerful lifestyle changes that fight and prevent cancer—an integrative approach based on the latest scientific research
“A common-sense blueprint for healthy living.” —Chicago Tribune
“Resonating with cancer support communities and recommended nationwide.” —Los Angeles Times
“Life affirming . . . filled with practical advice.” —The Seattle Times
David Servan-Schreiber was a rising... View Details
Beating Cancer with Nutrition (Fourth Edition) Rev
by Patrick Quillin (Author)
There is good news in the "war on cancer". Optimal nutrition coupled with appropriate medical treatment can dramatically improve the quality and quantity of life and chances for a complete remission for most cancer patients. A well-nourished cancer patient can better manage the disease. Cancer is the number two cause of death in America and the developed nations of the world with one out of four dying from cancer and 38% of women and 43% of men projected to develop cancer over their lifetime. While the overall death rate from cancer has not appreciably declined since... View Details
The Metabolic Approach to Cancer: Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies
by Dr. Nasha Winters ND FABNO L.Ac Dipl.OM (Author), Jess Higgins Kelley MNT (Author), Kelly Turner (Foreword)
The Optimal Terrain Ten Protocol to Reboot Cellular Health
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, cancer rates have increased exponentially―now affecting almost 50 percent of the American population. Conventional treatment continues to rely on chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation to attack cancer cells. Yet research has repeatedly shown that 95 percent of cancer cases are directly linked to diet and lifestyle. The Metabolic Approach to Cancer is the book we have been waiting for―it offers an innovative, metabolic-focused nutrition protocol that... View Details
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Author)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.
Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly... View Details