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August 6th, 2009
Unique Cells Believed to be Connected to Pediatric Cancers

French researchers have discovered that specific circulating blood cells may have a significant effect on the spread of cancer in children.

Their research was conducted by measuring levels of circulating endothelial cells, (rare blood cells which shed from the lining of blood cells after vascular damage), and endothelial progenitor cells in 23 children suffering from localized cancer, 22 children with metastatic cancer and 20 healthy children.

Francis Farace, director of the department of biology of circulating cells at Gustave Roussy Cancer institute, stated in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research, “Not only where these cells found in higher levels  in [cancer] patients compared with healthy volunteers, but endothelial progenitor cells were found in strikingly higher amounts in patients with metastatic disease.”

The study which appears July 15 in Clinical Cancer Research, states that although additional research is required to confirm whether endothelial cells play a role in metastasis, Farace believes that the cells “most likely play a role in the development of cancer in children.”

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