Stress increases the likelihood of cancer recurrence, as it "awakens" cancer cells from sleep, scientists from Russia, Germany and the United States have found. To establish this, they conducted a series of experiments with laboratory mice, according to Science Translational Medicine.
Even after successful treatment, dormant cancer cells remain in the body. They may be away from the underlying tumor. Since they are inactive, the drugs do not work on them.
Until a certain time, such cells do not cause significant harm. But studies have shown that intense stress can activate them.
The scientists selected mice with dormant lung and ovarian cancer cells. They limited their mobility, which led to severe stress. Many rodents began to develop tumor recurrence.
Under the influence of stress, the hormones norepinephrine and cortisol were released in the body of the mice. They influenced immune cells (neutrophils), which began to produce proteins S100A8 and S100A9. It was these proteins that “awakened” the tumor cells. Mice injected with beta-blockers, which stop the production of stress hormones, avoided tumor recurrence.
The scientists also analyzed tissue samples from people with cancer. It turned out that patients with high levels of S100A8 and S100A9 proteins had an increased likelihood of relapse.
Scientists have previously named the signs of early-stage stomach cancer. These are problems with swallowing, shortness of breath, sudden weight loss.