Doctors are studying the relationship between lung tumors and pulmonary hypertension
Researchers have now attempted to investigate why almost half of all advanced lung cancer patients develop arterial pulmonary hypertension. They came to the conclusion that immune and inflammatory processes triggered by tumor cells could be the cause.
The scientists at the Justus Liebig University in Gießen (JLU) and the internationally recognized Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim (MPI) found in their investigation that tumor cells seem to trigger immune and inflammatory processes, which then lead to Lead to pulmonary hypertension. The experts published a press release on the results of their study.
Doctors examined more than 500 participants for their study
When patients with lung cancer are at an advanced stage of the disease, shortness of breath and shortness of breath often occur. These health problems further increase the suffering of the people affected. According to the researchers, the cause of the additional problems could be so-called pulmonary hypertension. This is the conclusion reached by the scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research and the German Center for Lung Research after examining more than 500 test subjects.
Results could lead to a new therapy
The origin of pulmonary hypertension could possibly be immune and inflammatory processes, which are triggered by existing tumor cells. In the future, the results could lead to therapy being offered to treat these processes.
Lung cancer leads to death in the majority of those affected
More and more people around the world are developing lung cancer. Lung cancer is now responsible for more than a quarter of all deaths caused by cancer, the experts explain. Unfortunately, this trend is even increasing. The prognosis for lung cancer is very poor. Only a small proportion (one fifth of all patients) of those affected live five years after diagnosis. One reason for this is that lung cancer is often only recognized at an advanced stage. There are also a variety of different lung tumors, which is a major problem because individual therapy concepts are necessary for all of them. However, such therapies require that doctors understand the tumor disease better.
Doctors examine the diameter of the pulmonary arteries in the test subjects
Patients often develop shortness of breath and shortness of breath as lung cancer progresses, the doctors say. Exactly these symptoms also appear in diseases such as arterial pulmonary hypertension. For this reason, the scientists analyzed the diameter of the pulmonary arteries in around 500 patients with lung cancer. This was done with the help of computer tomography.
More than half of all subjects showed thickening of the arterial walls of the arteries
"In more than half of the patients, we noticed a thickening of the arterial walls of the arteries. This is a clear indication that these patients also suffer from pulmonary hypertension, ”says study leader Rajkumar Savai from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research.
Three forms of lung cancer have been studied
When looking for the cause of this, the experts examined three different forms of lung cancer. The analyzes were carried out on models with mice. “These were tumor types that grew at different speeds and were experimentally triggered in the lungs of mice. All three mouse models showed signs of pulmonary hypertension as the tumor grew, ”explains lead author Soni Pullamsetti.
Blood vessels close to tumors were infiltrated by many immune cells
The question naturally arises as to why pulmonary tumors often result in pulmonary hypertension. When examining human patients and also in models with mice, no tumor cells or blood clots that had migrated into the vessel wall could be detected. According to the doctors, these are both possible triggers for pulmonary hypertension. However, the scientists were able to determine that blood vessels close to the tumors were infiltrated by a large number of immune cells.
Lung tumors cause inflammatory processes that lead to pulmonary hypertension
The immune cells release various messenger substances. However, this is not unusual, but can generally be observed in inflammatory reactions. Pulmonary hypertension did not occur, however, if the mice lacked functional immune cells during the examination. Such cells release various messenger substances. The researchers interpreted this as an indication that inflammatory processes caused by lung tumors could be responsible for pulmonary hypertension. "Previously unknown abnormalities in the blood vessels, caused by inflammatory processes in the lung tumors, could be the cause of the symptoms observed in patients," explains Werner Seeger, director at the MPI and director of the medical clinic at the University Hospital Gießen-Marburg. This finding could lead to new therapeutic approaches in the future, which will extend the life expectancy of the affected patients, the experts hope. (as)