Cancer metastasis, the lymphatic system, and aspirin's role

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Researchers from Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute believe they have uncovered a pathway for cancer to metastasize that takes advantage of the lymphatic system, and they may have found a way to blunt that avenue.

Their findings have been published in the journal Cancer Cell.

While it has long been understood that roaming cancer cells take advantage of the blood vessels to spread, the Institute's researchers say they've found that cancer cells also use the lymphatic system to metastasize, and that the lymphatic vessels contribute to the spread by dilating and allowing a greater volume of cells to spread throughout the body.

The lymphatic vessels amount to a tumor supply line, but researchers say this is where drugs such as NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin can play a role in preventing metastasis because they reduce inflammation and reduce the dilation of those vessels, effectively making it much harder for cancer cells to use those vessels for metastasis.

Source: Cancer Cell

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