A recent study, published in Frontiers in Oncology, has found a certain type of cancer cells which are more dangerous than others, and it might be at the basis of how cancer spreads and develops and spreads.
Worldwide, the second leading cause of death is cancer. The World Health Organization evaluates that 1 in 6 deaths are due to cancer, with an estimated 9.6 million worldwide in 2018.
Cancerous cells are those cells which divide persistently, thus forming solid tumors or flooding the blood with abnormal cells. Cancer cells have lost the ability to control their own growth, multiply without control and can even spread to other tissues.
Researchers of the study called them “energetic cancer cells” and they represent around 0.2% of the full cancer cell population.
The research team considers them a discrete subgroup due to their energetic profile. As they produce more energy in their mitochondria and have a higher proliferation rate. Thus, they are more probable to produce a tumor.
Hence, because of these reasons, researchers are pointing the finger at them as being the front runner cells which can initiate and spread tumors.
The study findings indicate that these cells emerge from senescent (dying) cells. They presented hallmarks of senescence but are no longer senescent, they have broken out of senescence which is the natural process of cell aging and “death” which shows a healthy cell life cycle.
In the energetic cancer cell, a particular biomarker of senescence known as p21-WAF was about 17 times higher than other cancer cells. These cancer cells have not only disturbed the natural cycle of cell death, but they have also found a mode to make it work to their benefit. The action of these energetic cancer cells is described as a prison break by researchers.
Thus, this origin cell breaks out of line and behave uncontrollably and disruptively, multiplying malignant cells and forming a tumor. It feels like finding the familiar needle in a haystack, and it significantly gives us a new gap on cancer and how we might stop it.
The team believes that this discovery could lead to treatment of different cancers which directly target these cells. Thus, this stops the metastasis formation which is the spread of cancer from the original site.