Platelets serve as “first responders” during normal wounding and homeostasis. Arising from bone marrow stem cell lineage megakaryocytes, anucleate platelets can influence inflammation and immune regulation. Biophysically, platelets are optimized due to size and discoid morphology to distribute near vessel walls, monitor vascular integrity, and initiate quick responses to vascular lesions. Adhesion receptors linked to a highly reactive filopodia-generating cytoskeleton maximizes their vascular surface contact allowing rapid response capabilities. Functionally, platelets normally initiate rapid clotting, vasoconstriction, inflammation, and wound biology that leads to sterilization, tissue repair, and resolution. Platelets also are among the first to sense, phagocytize, decorate, or react to pathogens in the circulation. These platelet first responder properties are commandeered during chronic inflammation, cancer progression, and metastasis. Leaky or inflammatory reaction blood vessel genesis during carcinogenesis provides opportunities for platelet invasion into tumors. Cancer is thought of as a non-healing or chronic wound that can be actively aided by platelet mitogenic properties to stimulate tumor growth. This growth ultimately outstrips circulatory support leads to angiogenesis and intravasation of tumor cells into the blood stream. Circulating tumor cells reengage additional platelets, which facilitates tumor cell adhesion, arrest and extravasation, and metastasis. This process, along with the hypercoagulable states associated with malignancy, is amplified by IL6 production in tumors that stimulate liver thrombopoietin production and elevates circulating platelet numbers by thrombopoiesis in the bone marrow. These complex interactions and the “first responder” role of platelets during diverse physiologic stresses provide a useful therapeutic target that deserves further exploration.
Cancer and Metastasis Reviews – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 20, 2017
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