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Nicola Aceto and co-workers identified immune cells that enhance the metastatic potential of circulating tumor cells

Neutrophils and CTCs

Artistic representation of circulating tumor cells traveling in the bloodstream escorted by neutrophils. Through this interaction, neutrophils are able to enhance the metastatic ability of circulating tumor cells.


The research team discovered the mechanism by which neutrophils, a specific set of immune cells, protect circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the bloodstream of cancer patients. The interaction between CTCs and neutrophils is mediated by a specific cytokine and its inhibition prevents the formation of CTC–neutrophil clusters, reducing the metastatic potential of CTCs. The findings were recently publisehd in Nature.