A team of researchers from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, found that breast cancer cells spread to other parts of the body most effectively during the night period, while the patient sleeps. The study, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday (22/6), suggests that the treatments would work best when applied later in the day.
The research investigated 30 women with breast cancer, nine of whom had metastatic cancer and were not undergoing any treatment. Blood samples were taken at 4 am and 10 am. The results showed that 78% of circulating tumor cells (CTC) were found in the dawn sample.
The scientists did similar tests on mice that were 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 were also clumping together (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 the tumor cell at a specific time. They are thought to take into account that the tumor is there and should be hit any minute. Now, we understand better and we know that the treatment can be improved”, explains scientist Nicola Aceto, one of the authors of the study, in an interview with the website New Scientist.
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According to the National Cancer Institute, for each year of the triennium 2020/2022, about 625 thousand cases of the disease will be recorded in Brazil. Apart from skin cancer, the most common types that affect Brazilians are prostate, breast, cervix, lung, stomach, oral cavity and thyroid.Science 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 with irregular shapes. Related to prolonged exposure to the sun, exposure to artificial tanning cameras or for hereditary reasons, the disease can be treated through surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.miriam-doerr/istock
Breast cancer is caused by the uncontrolled multiplication 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 region, hardened lump, redness, swelling and bloody secretion. Treatment involves surgery to remove the breast, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy.SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/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 the delay in starting and finishing urinating. Surgery and radiation therapy are among the treatments for the disease.Getty Images
Although it may be related to hyperthyroidism, smoking, changes in sex hormones and diabetes, for example, thyroid cancer is still not well understood by experts. Despite this, treatments against the disease involve hormone therapy, radiotherapy, radioactive iodine and chemotherapy, depending on the case. getty images
Lung cancer is one of the types with the highest incidence in Brazil. Related to the use or prolonged exposure to smoking, its main symptoms are shortness of breath, chest pain, recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, bloody sputum and frequent coughing. The disease is treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or/and surgeryBSIP / getty images
In Brazil, squamous squamous cell carcinoma has the highest incidence among stomach cancers. Treatments involve surgery or radiation and chemotherapyiStock
Stomach cancer is diagnosed after identifying malignant tumors spread throughout the organ that can appear as ulcers. Related to infections caused by Helicobacter Pylori, by the presence of ulcers and untreated chronic gastritis, for example, the disease can cause vomiting with blood or blood in the stool, frequent belly pain and constant heartburnSmith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Cervical cancer has symptoms of intermittent vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain related to bowel or urinary complaints, and abnormal vaginal discharge. Treatment involves 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 40 years old and has as symptoms oral cavity sores, tongue stains and neck nodules, for example. Treatment involves surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.pexels
He states that the results make sense: while the immune system respects the circadian cycle, decreasing its action while the individual sleeps, the same does not happen with cancer, which reproduces at another rhythm.
Scientists say the finding raises several other 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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