Researchers find cancer grows mostly at night

No hasty bad conclusion, there is obviously no question of no longer sleeping. According to the findings of a recent study, cancer cells that form metastases appear mainly during the sleep phase. “When the affected person sleeps, the tumor wakes up,” says study leader Nicola Aceto, professor of molecular oncology at ETH Zurich.

During this study, conducted among 30 cancer patients, scientists discovered that the tumor generates more circulating cells when the body is asleep. Cells that leave the tumor at night also divide faster than those that leave the tumor during the day.

“Our research shows that the escape of circulating cancer cells from the original tumor is controlled by hormones such as melatonin, which determine our day and night rhythms,” said Zoi Diamantopoulou, lead author of the study and researcher. postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zurich.

Sampling time is important


And this discovery does not stop there since the researchers also found that the time of collection of a tumor sample could also be important. “Some of my colleagues work early in the morning or late at night; sometimes they also analyze blood at odd hours,” notes Nicola Aceto. The scientists found that samples taken at different times of the day had vastly different levels of circulating cancer cells.

The researchers’ next step will be to determine how these findings can be incorporated into cancer treatments available to optimize therapy outcomes.

Leave a Comment