Scientists find breast cancer spread accelerates during sleep

The scientific community believed that breast tumors released metastatic cells continuously, but a Swiss scientific team found that cancer cells that circulate and later form metastases arise mainly during the sleep phase.

This is the main finding of a study of 30 patients and mouse models published in the journal Nature, led by researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale (ETH) Zurich, the University Hospital Basel and the University of Basel.

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Each year, about 2.3 million people contract the disease worldwide.

If doctors detect the cancer in time, patients usually respond well to treatment. However, things become much more difficult if the cancer has already metastasized, recalls ETH.

Metastasis occurs when circulating cancer cells break away from the original tumor, travel through the body through blood vessels and form new tumors in other organs.

According to those responsible for the work, so far, cancer research has not paid much attention to this question of when tumors release metastatic cells.

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