Discovery Holds Hope for Pancreatic and Breast Cancer

Protein implicated in both pancreatic and breast cancer tumors found

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Recent research has uncovered a protein implicated in both pancreatic and breast cancer tumors.

Inflammatory reactions are classified according to the proteins or cytokines (small, cell-signaling protein molecules secreted by the nervous system) that predominate them. Often tumors are infiltrated with cytokines that produce Th2 (a certain type of inflammatory reaction), which may propel cancer tumor growth.

Now scientists have discovered that human breast cancer cells release cytokines called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), which drives inflammation.

TSLP has also been found to fuel Th2 inflammation in pancreatic cancer, which was discovered when researchers derived the TSLP from fibroblasts (cells that support tumors) in human pancreatic tumors.

So TSLP is a cytokine that causes inflammation which in turn feeds cancer. The discovery calls for further research to investigate whether targeting TSLP could block tumor growth.

The cellular sources are different in breast and pancreatic cancers, but the end result is the same: Th2-propelled inflammation.

Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest death rates of any cancer, with 37,170 cases diagnosed in the United States in 2007 and 33,700 deaths.

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Review Date: 
February 22, 2011
Last Updated:
February 22, 2011