Breast and ovarian cancer: healthy cells prevent the action of certain medications
Fibroblasts are non-cancerous cells that are naturally present in mammary and ovarian tissue, but they play a role in cancer in these organs. Fatima Mechta-Grigoriou, with her Stress and Cancer team at Institut Curie (Inserm U830 unit, a team certified by the French Ligue nationale contre le cancer), studies them closely. In March 2018, in the journal Cancer Cell, she published the discovery of four sub-groups of these fibroblasts, associated with mammary carcinoma. One of these sub-groups - CAF-S1 (for carcinoma-associated fibroblasts) - creates an immuno-suppressing environment, researchers also revealed. These cells prevent the patient's natural defenses from fighting the tumor. They prevent the action of a new class of treatments - immunotherapies - which are supposed to help the body fight cancer.
At the same time, another prestigious journal - Nature Communications - published similar discoveries in ovarian cancer, on the same sub-groups of fibroblasts and a similar immuno-suppressing phenomenon. These revelations represent an essential first step in the hope of combating the action of these fibroblasts. These are the results that Fatima will share with the international cancer research community at the end of March in Atlanta, Georgia.