In the lack of subscription to Stem Cells, I could not download the whole article or the subscription restricted supplemental data (at Stem Cells it seems people haven’t heard of free supplemental information) but this story is really interesting: Bone Marrow Contributes to Epithelial Cancers in Mice and Humans as Developmental Mimicry
In brief: in women underwent male (Y chromosome tracked) bone marrow transplantation, different types of cancer were developed and the malignant tissue often contained small areas of male marrow cells. The same happened with BM transplanted mice with the same cancers. “When they viewed the cancerous tissues under the microscope, they found marrow cells shared outward features of the cancer cells.
“Our results indicate these cells act as developmental mimics; they come in and look like the surrounding neoplastic tissue but they aren’t actually the seed of cancer,” explains Dr. Christopher Cogle, first author the Stem Cells article. “At the worst, these cells could help support cancerous tissue by providing it with growth factors or proteins that help the cancer grow and survive. At the very least, these marrow cells are just being tricked into coming into the cancerous environment and then made to walk and talk like they don’t usually do.”
These results highlight the role of the local destination niche to the phenotype of the migrant and highly mobile bone marrow cells.
Illustration: lung cancer stem cells from Christopher Cogle’s homepage.