How mechanical constraints limit the chemotherapy efficiency
The compressive stresses to which solid tumors are subjected reduce cell proliferation, limiting the effectiveness of chemotherapy agents. This has been shown in vitro by researchers at LAAS-CNRS in pancreatic cancer. These results, which suggest new therapeutic strategies, are published in Physical Review Letters.
Among the cellular mechanisms that can induce resistance to cancer treatment by chemotherapy, the role of mechanical stresses on a solid tumor is still poorly understood. However, compressive stresses, due to the interaction between the tumor and the surrounding tissue, have a strong impact on cell physiology. Researchers from the MIcro-Nanofluidics for Life science and Environment - MILE team at LAAS-CNRS1 have studied the influence of compressive stresses on the efficacy of a chemotherapy agent used for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, gemcitabine. They observed the effect of gemcitabine in an in vitro tumor model, first in the absence of mechanical stresses and then by embedding the cells in an elastic matrix, which then exerts compression on the tumor as the cells proliferate.
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1 In collaboration with the Italian Institute of technology (Gênes, Italy), the University of Gênes (Italy), the Helmotz centre for infection research (Germany), the Cancer Research Centre of Toulouse (Inserm,Toulouse), and the Institut lumière matière (CNRS/University of Lyon).