Chemotherapy ‘can make cancers more resistant to treatment and even encourage them to grow’
Chemotherapy treatment for some cancers may actually encourage tumours to grow, researchers have claimed.
The treatment triggers the healthy body cells around the tumour to produce a protein that helps the disease to resist treatment.
The surprise discovery suggests that some forms of the cancer treatment are doing more harm than good.
Treatment: Blocking the response of a non-cancerous cell found near tumours could be one way of improving chemotherapy
Scientists believe the effect is caused by the impact of chemotherapy drugs on healthy connective tissue cells called fibroblasts.
In lab experiments they found the drugs caused DNA damage which made fibroblasts pump out 30 times more of a protein than normal.
This protein encouraged prostate tumours to grow and spread into surrounding tissue, as well as to resist chemotherapy.