Scientists unlock the mystery of blood clot deaths in cancer patients
A new study by a team of New Zealand scientists have solved the mystery of why many cancer patients die of blood clots while undergoing chemotherapy.
Zee Media Bureau
Wellington: A new study conducted by New Zealand scientists have solved the mystery of why many cancer patients die of blood clots while undergoing chemotherapy.
In the study by University of Otago researchers that came out on Wednesday said, chemotherapy stimulates release of tiny bubbles from the surface of cancer cells, as reported in Xinhua news.
The most common death from cancer were caused by uncontrolled growth of tumour in vital organs, but the second common way that cancer kills is by triggering blood clotting resulting in thrombosis.
The clots cause blockage of major blood vessels, preventing oxygen and nutrients to vital organs.
Despite being life-prolonging, chemotherapy is thus associated with a six-to-seven fold increase in the risk of thrombosis in cancer patients.
Associate Professor Alex McLellan said in a statement that the link between cancer and thrombosis was noted over 100 years ago, but the reasons for the association had been elusive, Associate Professor Alex McLellan said in a statement.
McLellan's team have discovered that cancer cells when treated with chemotherapy releases lipid-rich bubbles from their membranes that activated coagulation (clotting) processes.
"We now have insight into how these bubbles from dying cancer cells may cause thrombosis during chemotherapy," McLellan added.
The research had showed that certain solid cancers were more active in promoting blood coagulation, as compared to lymphomas.
"A general pattern is that cancers such as pancreatic, lung and brain cancers carry the largest risk of thrombotic events," he said.
The study opened the possibility of developing inhibitors to the major coagulation pathway identified in cancer cells.
(With IANS inputs)