April 20, 2024

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Pancreatic cancer: Collagen may play an important protective role

Pancreatic cancer: Collagen may play an important protective role


Pancreatic cancer: Collagen may play an important protective role.  Cancer Cell: New discovery! Collagen may play an important protective role in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer!

In a research report published in the international journal Cancer Cell, scientists from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Research Center and other institutions indicated through research that, contrary to the long-term view of scientists, type I produced by cancer-related fibroblasts Collagen may not promote the occurrence of cancer, but it plays a protective role in controlling the progression of pancreatic cancer. Related research results may be expected to help scientists develop cancer therapeutic strategies that promote collagen production (rather than inhibit its function).

Researchers say that collagen may play a role in the tumor microenvironment to block the production of immune signals called chemokines, which can inhibit the body’s anti-tumor immune response; when collagen is absent, chemokines The level will rise, which will promote the rapid growth of cancer. Dr. Raghu Kalluri, MD, said that collagen is a component of the tumor microenvironment that has been widely studied by scientists for decades, but its specific role is not clear to scientists. Now researchers have discovered that collagen may be part of the body’s cancer defense strategy. If this strategy can be studied well, even if it may not be the most ideal, researchers can also enhance the body’s natural defenses to produce a better anti-cancer effect.

Pancreatic cancer: Collagen may play an important protective role

Image source: medicalxpress.com

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It is produced by fibroblasts and mainly exists in bones, tendons and skin. When cancer occurs and grows, collagen will also accumulate in and around the tumor. It is speculated that collagen may help promote tumor growth, metastasis, and drug resistance. In order to investigate these possibilities and clarify the key role played by collagen, the researchers developed a mouse model in which cancer-related fibroblasts in the body during pancreatic cancer do not produce collagen; when derived from myofibroblasts After the genetic deletion of collagen, the level of total collagen loss in the tumor microenvironment will exceed 50%.

When the level of collagen decreases, the growth of pancreatic cancer will accelerate, and the overall survival rate of mice will decrease, which shows that collagen plays a very important role in blocking cancer progression; in the article, the researchers studied in depth Understand how collagen affects tumor development. In tumors with decreased collagen levels, cancer cells will produce high levels of chemokines to attract myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), which is a kind of energy Immune cells that slow the body’s anti-tumor immune response.

Indeed, researchers have found that collagen-deficient tumors have more MDSCs and fewer immune cells, such as T cells and B cells. These immune cells will establish an effective anti-tumor immune response; interestingly, use targeting Blocking the activity of chemokine signals by therapies will reverse the immune properties in these tumors and slow down the progression of the tumors and return their levels to levels similar to those of the control. Researcher Kalluri said that this may be a bit surprising, because we believe that pancreatic cancer is a poorly-detected cancer, that is, there is an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. However, this study found that the immune system can actually To some extent, the growth of pancreatic cancer is controlled, and when collagen is missing, researchers can also observe the harmful immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment.

We all know that pancreatic cancer is a malignant and poor prognosis type of tumor. Based on the results of this article, researchers have found that collagen itself may not be an effective defensive mechanism, but it can show how our body is Do everything you can to control the progression of pancreatic cancer. The human body’s response is like a car with a brake failure. A car cannot stop as effectively as having a better brake pedal, but it is much better than a car without a brake.

In the end, the researcher Kalluri explained that the current challenge we are facing is to identify a therapeutic strategy to repair the brakes. The method is to increase the level of collagen or enhance the downstream effect of collagen to promote the body’s anti-tumor immune response. 



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