Our immune system is constantly on the lookout for anything that doesn’t belong in our bodies, including cancerous cells. When these cells are detected, the immune system releases chemicals that help to destroy them. However, sometimes cancer cells find ways to evade the immune system and continue to grow.
One way that cancer cells evade the immune system is by producing molecules that suppress the development of metastases. Metastases are cancer cells that have spread from the primary tumor to other parts of the body. When cancer cells metastasize, they are more difficult to treat and are more likely to lead to death.
Tumors suppress the development of metastases by producing molecules that inhibit the immune system’s ability to destroy cancer cells. These molecules include interleukin-10 and transforming growth factor-β. Interleukin-10 is a cytokine that suppresses the immune response. Transforming growth factor-β is a growth factor that promotes the growth of cells and the development of blood vessels.
The production of these molecules by tumors allows cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body, where they can form new tumors. Once these metastases have formed, the cancer is much more difficult to treat and is more likely to cause death.
To prevent the spread of cancer, it is important to target these molecules that suppress the immune system. One way to do this is to develop drugs that block the production of these molecules. clinical trials are currently underway to test the effectiveness of these drugs in treating cancer.
Tumors suppress the development of metastases by producing factors that inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells. These factors include proteins that block cell proliferation and migration, as well as microRNAs that silence genes that promote metastasis. The inhibition of metastasis by tumors is a major reason why cancer is often a chronic disease, with periods of growth followed by periods of dormancy.