Cancer treatment may be improved by a new
discovery which could give greater understanding about the biological
mechanisms of tumour growth and spread.
Scientists at University College London found that cells are often squeezed out
from the tissue as it grows in order to maintain the correct size. Scientists
believe that a similar process could occur in cancerous tissue with the ejected
cells more likely to survive and form new tumours.
Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK's senior science information manager, said:
"This discovery provides a clue that could help scientists understand how
cancer spreads - one of the most important questions in cancer research."
She explained that most cancer deaths are due to the occurrence of secondary
tumours, as it is harder to treat cancer at more than one site.
Doctors stated that the next step will be to ascertain if the process is the
cause of cancer spread and if possible treatments for this could then be developed.