Pathology Presents: Perivascular Regulation of Disseminated Tumor Cell Dormancy and Chemresistance
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Cyrus Ghajar, PhD
Human Biology Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- Faculty Sponsor
Bill Mahoney, PhD
Where the Wild Things Are: Perivascular Regulation of Disseminated Tumor Cell Dormancy and Chemresistance
In a significant fraction of breast cancer patients, distant metastases emerge after years or even decades of latency. How disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) are kept dormant, and what wakes them up, are fundamental problems in tumor biology. To address these questions, we use metastasis assays in mice and zebrafish and organ-like models consisting of human cells and determined that the perivascular niche of distant sites like the lung, bone marrow, liver and brain regulate DTC dormancy. More recently, we have begun to explore whether the perivascular niche confers therapeutic resistance to DTCs. I will present data that suggests strongly that the perivascular niche regulates therapeutic resistance of DTCs in a manner that is independent from its role in regulating DTC growth. Our goal is to uncover these mechanisms to guide strategies to eradicate dormant DTCs without affecting their growth status. We believe this will result in a viable strategy to prevent metastasis.