The rapid localization of ovarian cancer cells to milky spots indicated that omental tissue secretes a factor, or factors that attract the cancer cells to these structures. Experiments showed that milky-spot-containing tissues in particular can condition cell growth medium to stimulate the migration of cancer cells. This study found that cell medium conditioned by omenta and splenoportal fat caused a 95-fold increase in cell migration, compared to controls. This study also examined mice with specific immunodeficiencies to show that ovarian cancer cell colonization of milky spots is not affected by deficiency or absence of T cells, B cells, and/or NK cells.
The authors also found an inverse relationship between ovarian cancer cell growth and depletion of adipocytes. "These data are consistent with previous reports from other investigators that indicate cancer cells use lipids stored in adipocytes as an energy source for their continued growth," says Dr. Rinker-Schaeffer. "Certain tumor cells (the 'seed') have a proclivity for specific organ microenvironments (the 'soil')," adds Dr. Rinker-Schaeffer. "Pioneers of metastasis research appreciated that the unique tissue architecture, physiology, and function of the target organ are essential to understanding metastatic organ specificity. With this in mind, we hope that our findings and discussion of how they fit into the big picture of omental colonization will facilitate studies that continue to improve our understanding of this process."
In 2012, ovarian cancer was diagnosed in almost 23,000 American women and 16,000 died from the disease.
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Elsevier Health Sciences