Blocking tumor signals can hinder cancer’s spread

Source: Medical Xpress, May 2020

For most people who die of cancer, the spread of the initial tumor is to blame. “Metastasis is what kills most cancer patients,” says Serge Fuchs, a professor in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “Yet there are not many, if any, drugs that specifically target metastatic processes.”

In a paper in the journal Nature Cancer, Fuchs teamed with researchers from around campus and elsewhere to overcome that lack, studying the molecular players that foster cancer’s spread and identifying a strategy to stop it. Using an inhibitor of the enzyme known as p38? kinase (p38), they successfully reduced the spread of melanoma in a mouse model, significantly prolonging survival time.

“In my opinion, this kind of therapy could be used in conjunction with surgery to remove the primary tumor or perhaps other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy,” says Fuchs.