**Although the mortality rate of many types of cancer patients is declining, the mortality rate of some cancer patients is stabilizing and involving an upward trend, melanoma is one of them. Recently, scientists from the University of Finland in Helsinki have found that lymphatic endothelial cells (LEC) may promote the proliferation of melanoma. Related study result is published in the international magazine eLife.
Since melanoma often spreads to other parts of the patient's body in the late stages, the mortality of melanoma patients remains high. Melanoma is usually considered to have certain metastasis, while reaching this stage, cancer cells spread to the distal end of the body through lymph nodes, and the most affected are the liver, lungs, bones, and brain.
Normally, before primary melanoma infiltrating into the dermis of the skin, that is, before it reaches lymphoid tissue and blood vessels, these cancer cells will continue to grow and spread on the top layer of the skin. However, lymphatic infiltration and lymph node metastasis are often directly related to the poor prognosis of patients with melanoma. In order to study the melanoma metastasis mechanism directly, researchers expect to regulate melanoma metastasis through some elusive mechanisms.
Professor Paivi Ojala, the researcher, said that, ‘At present, although we still do not fully understand the mechanism and functional contribution of lymphatic proliferation in the process of distant melanoma metastasis, We have begun to investigate the function of the lymphatic wall cells, the key role of lymphatic endothelial cells in the invasion and metastasis of human melanoma cells.’ The goal of the researchers is to find out whichkey factors in the lymphatic microenvironment of the tumor can promote the metastasis of melanoma cells to the distal organs of the body, it may be possible to find out potential targets which will help develop new therapies that effectively inhibit or treat melanoma metastases.
While human melanoma cells are co-cultured with human primary lymphatic endothelial cells, they often increase the invasive growth of melanoma cells in a cell culture condition. This kind of culture environment seems to mimic the tissue environment and facilitates the transfer of human melanoma cells implanted into the body of the mouse for distal organ metastasis of cancer cells; this type of lymphatic endothelial cell-mediated alteration of melanoma often relys on factors such as MMP14 and Notch3, whereas MMP14 and Notch3 are important for increasing the metastasis of human melanoma cells in a zebrafish tumor model.
The researchers elucidated how a special mechanism can promote the metastasis of melanoma through contacting with lymphatic endothelial cells. Related studies have found that they may be effective to help clinical researchers find prognostic markers for the metastasis of melanoma, thereby also helping more pharmaceutical companies to develop new targeted therapies that inhibit or treat melanoma metastases. We will keep updating more related and further information on this study for you. **