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New Research on Pancreatic Cancer Metastasis to Lung and Liver

Kenneth D. Nahum

A respected New Jersey oncologist, Kenneth D. Nahum, DO, emphasizes patient-centered treatment at Regional Cancer Care Associates, LLC. With an extensive background in areas such as pancreatic cancer research, Dr. Kenneth D. Nahum follows developments in his field closely.

Known for its ability to spread to the lungs and liver, pancreatic cancer metastasis was researched at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). As described in a recently published Developmental Cell article, when cancerous cells form, metastases must then change their metabolism and shape so as to detach themselves from the tumorous cell cluster.

They then enter blood vessels as thin cells that use blood cells for transport to other parts of the body. Once they reach new organs, the cancer cells need to re-establish contacts with cells in that region and cling to them in a process known as plasticity.
The TUM research found that pancreatic cancer spreading to the liver is dependent on plasticity and cell-to-cell contact. In cases where the cancer cells do not achieve this, they are flushed into the lungs via blood vessels, where they become lodged. Such cells that passively exist in the lungs are much easier to control and have a more favorable prognosis for treatment than when they are in the liver.
The TUM research also brought focus to the role of the cell adhesion protein molecule E-cadherin, which enables cancer spreading cell-to-cell contacts. Inhibiting E-cadherin presence allows the metastasis process to be controlled and potentially stopped.

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