PerspectiveCANCER

Tumors set time

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Science  02 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6303, pp. 987-988
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai7631

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Summary

The field of cancer research has expanded from merely observing cancer in isolation to studying it as a systemic phenomenon. Tumors occupy “environments” where they actively interact with multiple cellular processes, signaling pathways, and homeostatic mechanisms, such as, according to a recent study by Masri et al. (1), circadian rhythms. Tumor-secreted molecular messengers (the secretome) can spread over a range of distances and have both short-range and systemic influences on normal tissues and organs (2). To highlight the systemic effects of the cancer secretome, the concept of tumor “macroenvironment” has been coined (3). Masri et al. took this “macro” approach to inquire how tumors affect circadian cycling in a distal organ not yet infiltrated by metastasis.