Chemotherapy has long been considered an aggressive and painful form of cancer therapy. It was also considered necessary and the most effective treatment.
Now a recent study has shown that chemotherapy can possibly encourage tumor growth. Researchers were initially attempting to determine why cancer cells are easy to kill in a laboratory but so hard to stop in a human body.
The New York Daily News reported that they tested tissue collected from men with prostate cancer and found "evidence of DNA damage" in healthy cells after they received chemotherapy. Chemotherapy inhibiting reproduction of cells that divide quickly like those found in tumors.
Researchers focused on a cell known as the fibroblast in the neighborhood of the cancerous tumor. According to CBS News, when the fibroblast was given chemotherapy, the researchers found that it produced a high level of a molecule called WNT16B that enable the growth of cancerous cells.
"The increase in WNT16B was completely unexpected, according to study researcher Peter Nelson of Seattle. Nelson told AFP, "WNT16B, when secreted, would interact with nearby tumor cells and cause them to grow, invade, and resist subsequent therapy."
Tumors often respond well to chemotherapy treatments at first, then experience rapid regrowth and resistance later.
Nelson said it might be possible to use smaller and less toxic doses of chemotherapy during treatments. And according to Gizmodo, the scientists already expect to study the effects of WNT16B suppressants being given along with chemotherapy drugs in preventing the cell growth.