Platelets YAP at cancer

MD Anderson team finds molecular link between high platelet counts and metastasis

While elevated platelet levels often signify an underlying malignancy, the molecular mechanisms linking the two are not well understood. Now, a team from MD Anderson has shown a well-known, but barely exploited signaling pathway mediates the interaction of platelets and metastasizing cells, pointing the way to therapies that block the signal in cancer cells and leave vital platelet functions unscathed.

Although the connection between thrombocytosis -- elevated platelet counts -- and cancer has long been known in theory, it’s received increased attention recently because of the growing co-incidence of the two conditions among patients over the last decade.

That growing incidence is likely the result of improved survival among cancer patients, and possibly thrombogenicity side effects of newer chemotherapeutic agents, according to a 2016 report issued by a strategic working group of NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) that held a workshop in 2014 on “Needed Research in Cancer-Related Thrombosis.”

The report, co-authored by lead investigator on the new study Anil Sood, noted that venous thromboembolism (VTE) has an incidence of about 1 to 3 episodes per 1,000 people, and cancer-associated VTE accounts for about

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