A team of researchers from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, found that breast cancer cells spread most effectively to other parts of the body during the night, while the patient sleeps. A study, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday (22/6), suggests that treatments will work best when applied later in the day.
The study looked at 30 women with breast cancer, nine of whom had metastatic cancer and had not undergone any treatment. Blood samples were taken at 4 and 10 a.m. The results showed that 78% of circulating tumor cells (CTC) were found in the dawn sample.
The researchers performed similar tests on mice transplanted with different types of breast cancer and found that, depending on the tumor, between 87% and 99% of CTCs were found overnight. These cells also shrank (which increases the chances of forming a new tumor) about 278 times more in the dawn sample.
“Most cancer treatments are not designed to attack a tumor cell at a specific time. It is believed that they take into account that the tumor is there and that it should be hit at any moment. We now understand better and know that treatment can be improved, ”explains scientist Nicola Aceto, one of the study’s authors, in an interview with New Scientist.
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According to the National Cancer Institute, for each year of the three-year period 2020/2022, about 625 thousand cases of this disease will be recorded in Brazil. In addition to skin cancer, the most common types that affect Brazilians are prostate, breast, cervix, lungs, stomach, oral cavity and thyroid.Scientific photo library – STEVE GSCHMEISSNER, Getty Images
Extremely common in the country, skin cancer is characterized by the appearance of tumors on the skin in the form of spots or spots of irregular shape. Related to prolonged sun exposure, exposure to artificial tanning cameras, or for hereditary reasons, the disease can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.miriam-doerr / istock
Breast cancer is caused by uncontrolled proliferation of cells in the breast. Although common in women, the disease can also affect men. Among the symptoms of the disease are: pain in the breast area, hardened lump, redness, swelling and bloody secretions. Treatment includes breast removal surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy.LIBRARY OF SCIENTIFIC PHOTOGRAPHS / Getty Images
More common in men, prostate cancer has the following symptoms: blood in the urine, difficulty urinating, the need to urinate several times a day, and a delay in starting and ending urination. Surgery and radiotherapy are among the treatments for this disease.Getty Images
Although it may be associated with hyperthyroidism, smoking, changes in sex hormones and diabetes, for example, thyroid cancer is still not well understood by experts. Nevertheless, anti-disease treatments include hormone therapy, radiotherapy, radioactive iodine, and chemotherapy, as appropriate. getty images
Lung cancer is one of the types with the highest incidence in Brazil. Related to use or prolonged exposure to smoking, its main symptoms are shortness of breath, chest pain, recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, bloody sputum and frequent cough. The disease is treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and / or surgeryBSIP / getty images
In Brazil, squamous cell carcinoma has the highest incidence among gastric cancers. Treatment includes surgery or radiation and chemotherapyiStock
Gastric cancer is diagnosed after the identification of malignant tumors that spread throughout the organ that may appear in the form of ulcers. Related to Helicobacter pylori infections, the presence of ulcers and untreated chronic gastritis, for example, the disease can cause vomiting with blood or blood in the stool, frequent abdominal pain and constant heartburn.Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images
Cervical cancer has symptoms of intermittent vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain associated with intestinal or urinary problems, and abnormal vaginal discharge. Treatment includes chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.Science Photo Library / GettyImages
Oral cancer is a disease that involves the presence of malignant tumors on the lips, gums, roof of the mouth, tongue, cheeks and bones. It is more common in men over the age of 40 and has symptoms of ulcers in the oral cavity, spots on the tongue and nodules on the neck, for example. Treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.pexels
He states that the results make sense: while the immune system respects the circadian cycle, reducing its action while the person is sleeping, the same does not happen with cancer, which reproduces at a different pace.
Scientists say the finding raises several more questions, including whether there is a specific time in sleep when tumor cells develop most easily, or whether patients should sleep more or less to optimize treatment.
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