Identifying the messengers promoting tumor cell dissemination and aggressiveness in pediatric patients


Pediatric non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL) are a heterogeneous set of diseases that are presented in an acute form or in aggressive form such as Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) in which a substantial fraction of patients fail to respond to therapy by relapsing or ceasing to recover despite clinical improvements in cure rates in recent years.

Research conducted on different types of adult solid tumors demonstrate that small-extracellular vesicles (S-EVs), released by tumor cells into the bloodstream, contain proteins and genetic material. Such genetic material can be transferred to healthy cells, including those away from the tumor, and play an important role in promoting tumor cell dissemination and aggressiveness.

Aimed at identifying the role of S-EVs found the bloodstream of pediatric ALCL patients in spreading metastases, a group of doctor and researchers published their findings in Cancer Communications under Plasma small-extracellular vesicles enriched in miR-122-5p promote disease aggressiveness in pediatric anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. Coordinated by Lara Mussolin of the Department of Women's and Children's Health of the University of Padua, the work behind the study was supported by the AIRC Foundation for Cancer Research.

The research took place in the laboratories of Padua’s Città della Speranza Pediatric Research Institute, thanks to the participation of Drs. Carlotta C. Damanti, Lavinia Ferrone and Federica Lovisa, in cooperation with a group from the Computational Genomics of the Department of Molecular Medicine led by Prof. Stefania Bortoluzzi and Dr. Henry Gaffo.

This important study was made possible thanks to the support of the AIRC Foundation for cancer research to the scientific activity of both groups involved and to Dr. Mussolin with the Investigator Grant entitled, Identification of new biomarkers of disease progression in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma of Childhood: the role of liquid biopsy.