What’s more, researchers found that it damages blood and lymphatic vessels membranes near the tumor. In particular, it creates “doorways” that allow cancer cells to enter the bloodstream or lymph. They can then travel to other body parts and cause the growth of new tumors.
Dr. George Karagiannis, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York, discovered that the number of these doorways increased in 20 patients who were following a two-drug chemotherapy regimen. Plus, Dr. Karagiannis noted that chemotherapy increased the number of cancer cells elsewhere in the body (particularly in the lungs) in mice suffering from breast cancer. This suggests that the neoadjuvant chemotherapy studied contribute towards metastasis risk.
Surviving Breast Cancer Chemotherapy
In light of the findings, Dr. Karagiannis suggests that women should be closely monitored while undergoing chemotherapy to make sure none of these new doorways emerge. He’s how what he suggests to avoid this harmful side-effect.
“One approach would be to obtain a small amount of tumour tissue after a few doses of preoperative chemotherapy,” he told the Telegraph (8).
“If we observe that the markers scores are increased we would recommend discontinuing chemo and having surgery first, followed by post-operative chemo. We are currently planning more extensive trials to address the issue.
“In this study we only investigated chemotherapy-induced cancer cell dissemination in breast cancer.We are currently working on other types of cancer to see if similar effects are elicited.”
The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and is available here.