Lung Cancer FAQs – Can Tumors Lie Dormant For Years?

New research information indicates; scientists, may have discovered that lung cancer tumors are somehow able to lay dormant in the body for many years before becoming active. That is to say – before a sleeping tumor actually becomes a noticeable life-threatening disease (no previous symptoms of its existence).

By using a 3-dimensional cell culture system, scientists have been able to identify a mechanism that allows dormant, metastatic tumor cells (cells that have the ability to spread to other regions of the body) to start growing again, even after many years of inactivity (the dormancy of a tumor becomes proliferative metastatic growth [the rapid growth production of new cells]).

This new growth is believed to happen in a regulated way, where signaling from the surrounding micro-environment may lead to changes in the skeletal infrastructure of dormant tumor cells. However, any tumor size growth due to changes from dormant to proliferative metastatic growth may also be restricted by the availability of an adequate blood supply (something that is needed to provide oxygen and sufficient nutrients for cancerous cells to grow).

Because of this new discovery, future treatments may one day have the ability to inhibit (stop) any such changes through "targeted mechanism therapies." But, although there seems to be this possibility, it would be appropriate to mention that many disseminated tumor cells (cells widely dispersed in a tissue, organ, or the entire body) would usually not survive for very long periods of time. However, it is also worth mentioning, the strong possibility of a "sub-set" of these cells may survive.

This is usually where treatments, such as with chemotherapy, which targets actively dividing cells, has not been able to kill off all the cancerous cells (a cause of cancer recurrence after primary treatment has been received). New information would also indicate that any such possibilities of targeted mechanism therapies, may not be applied to just one specific type of cancer, but cancers in general.

If this new information is anything to go by, then it is a major advancement that could see any future cures being applied not just to lung cancer sufferers, but to sufferers of other types of cancers too. This is a significant move forward for both the control, and eradication of many types of tumors that may lay dormant for many years before becoming proliferative metastatic growth.