A chemotherapy drug may be helping breast cancer spread to the lungs.
That’s the surprising finding of researchers from The Ohio State University, who used a mouse model to discover that paclitaxel both allows breast cancer cells to escape from a tumor and simultaneously makes the lungs a more susceptible place for the cancer cells to take hold.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is supported by another study, conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and published in Science Translational Medicine, which revealed a similar result using imaging techniques to observe the tumors in mice.
“That chemotherapy can paradoxically promote cancer progression is an emerging revelation in cancer research. However, a molecular-level understanding of this devastating effect is not clear,” Tsonwin Hai, the study’s senior author and a professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology, said in a statement.
Hai warned in the statement that much more work is required before extrapolating the findings in mice to human cancer treatment.