Early breast tumor deregulates the immune system in lymph nodes, causing metastases later


Breast cancer often spreads to the lymph nodes or the lungs. But the exact mechanisms that lie behind these metastases in a particular organ are currently still unclear.

Researchers from the Karin de Visser group from the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oncode have discovered that breast tumors mobilize specific immune cells in the lymph nodes from a distance at an early stage of tumor development, which will eventually lead to metastases in the lymph nodes. This specific mechanism has not been observed in the lungs.

Breast cancer patients with metastases in the lymph nodes tend to face a worse prognosis than patients with clean lymph nodes. The researchers are hoping that their new fundamental insights could lead to new immunotherapies that can fight metastases in the lymph node early on.

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