Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Cell Signaling Pathway Identified as Metastasis Suppressor

The discovery of a cell signaling pathway's role in stopping the reactivation of dormant cancer cells that have escaped from a primary tumor is reported in Nature this week and may represent a new therapeutic target for combating metastasis. Metastasis, the primary cause of death from cancer, frequently develops from disseminated cancer cells that persist in an immune-evasive quiescent state months to years after a primary tumor is successfully treated, only to reawaken. To investigate this process further, scientists from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center performed CRISPR screens in mouse models of early lung cancer metastasis to identify genes that affect how tumor cells interact with the host immune system. They discover that the stimulator of interferon genes, or STING, pathway suppresses metastatic outbreaks. Notably, STING activity changes at different stages of metastasis, remaining low when cancer cells are dormant and ramping up when they proliferate. Further experimentation showed how STING recruits key immune cells to attack cancer and how the signaling molecule TGF-beta acts to suppress STING in quiescent disseminated cancer cells. The study's authors note that a number of STING agonists are currently under clinical investigation, but in patients with advanced tumors. "The dormant metastasis microenvironment is very different from that of the advanced metastases," they write. "Targeting specific vulnerabilities of dormant metastasis in the adjuvant setting may provide unique opportunities to prevent metastasis."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.