Posted on Jul 07, 2015, 6 a.m.
Pre-existing inflammation raises levels of chitinase-3-like-1 (CHI3L1), a known biomarker for breast cancer.
Under normal conditions, inflammation is a biological process that the body utilizes to fight off infections. Left unchecked, chronic inflammation is associated with diseases ranging from arthritis to cancers. Vijaya L. Iragavarapu-Charyulu, from Florida Atlantic University (Florida, USA), and colleagues completed a study of laboratory mice that suggests that inflammation raises the level of a known biomarker of cancer known as chitinase-3-like-1 (CHI3L1), in the inflamed tissue, which leads to increased metastasis and faster cancer growth in that tissue. The team genetically modified a subgroup of the study animals so they were unable to produce the CHI3L1 glycoprotein. The team then induced the two groups of mice to become asthmatic, after which the mice were challenged with breast cancer cells. After four weeks researchers observed that there was less inflammation in the mice lacking CHI3L1 expression, and that the tumors in these mice did not grow as fast. These mice also had less metastasis to the lungs. Submitting that: “Pre-existing inflammation and CHI3L1 might be driving the establishment of a premetastatic milieu in the lungs and aiding in the support of metastatic foci,” the study authors write that: “Understanding the role of allergen-induced CHI3L1 and inflammation in tumor bearers and its effects on the pulmonary microenvironment could result in targeted therapies for breast cancer.”
Stephania Libreros, Ramon Garcia-Areas, Patricia Keating, Nathalia Gazaniga, Philip Robinson, Alison Humbles, and Vijaya L. Iragavarapu-Charyulu. “Allergen induced pulmonary inflammation enhances mammary tumor growth and metastasis: Role of CHI3L1.” J Leukoc Biol. 2015 Mar 12. pii: jlb.3A0214-114RR.