New research from the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences has shown that high levels in the bloodstream of an important protein involved in blood clotting, called von Willebrand Factor, can lead to worse outcomes for breast cancer patients. The findings will help researchers and doctors better understand and treat breast cancer to reduce the risk of life-threatening blood clots and cancer spread in patients.
The study, published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, found that breast cancer patients had very high levels of von Willebrand factor in their blood, and patients with the highest levels had the worst outcomes. This work suggests that analysis of von Willebrand Factor levels may be useful to help predict clinical outcomes in breast cancer patients.
The study also examined how breast cancer causes high levels of von Willebrand Factor and found that breast tumor cells trigger the release of the clotting protein that helps the breast tumor cells circulate in the blood stream and can promote the spread of breast tumors to other organs in the body. † Anticoagulants or blood thinners already used to treat blood clots could inhibit this effect by lowering von Willebrand factor and also prevent the spread of cancer cells in the bloodstream.
The study’s findings will help doctors better understand why breast cancer patients are at increased risk for blood clots, and also why this may contribute to worse disease, cancer progression and spread throughout the body.
More than 2 million people worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, making it the most common cancer in the world. Importantly, it is not the primary breast tumor but its spread to distant places in the body such as bones, brain and lungs that is the leading cause of death. In addition, because they spread through the bloodstream, these breast cancer cells cause blood clotting in about 1 in 5 patients, increasing their risk of life-threatening complications.
Our findings now show for the first time that this blood clotting can be caused by elevated levels of an important pro-clotting protein, von Willebrand Factor, and that the breast tumor cells interact directly with the blood vessel wall to promote the release of this protein. egg white. Interestingly, this not only increases the risk of blood clotting for these patients, but may also promote the spread of breast cancer cells throughout the body through the circulation. Our work is helping to better understand why breast cancer patients are at increased risk for blood clots and also why this can contribute to worse disease, cancer progression and spread throughout the body, which will have a huge impact on breast cancer treatment and outcomes. for patients worldwide.”
dr. Jamie O’Sullivan, Irish Center for Vascular Biology, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, RCSI
The study was conducted by Irish Center for Vascular Biology, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, RCSI, in collaboration with Cellular and Molecular Imaging Core, RCSI and Manchester Cancer Research Centre, The University of Manchester, UK.
The research was funded by LEO Pharma through an industrial partnership with the Irish Research Council.
RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences