Adhesive protein facilitates cluster formation in circulating tumor cells

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) with stem cell features use the adhesive protein ICAM1 to facilitate formation of CTC clusters, which can travel from primary tumors to other organs in the body, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in Nature Communications.

These CTC clusters are a major source of metastases in breast cancer, so inhibiting tumor cell ICAM1 has the potential to stop tumor cell seeding and block cancer progression, according to Huiping Liu, MD, PhD, associate professor of Pharmacology and senior author of the study.

“An antibody to neutralize the function of ICAM1 could reduce social networking of tumor cells during circulation and migration, and improve outcomes for patients with breast cancer,” said Liu, who is also a professor of Medicine…

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