The tissue surrounding the malignant tumors can look normal, but its genetic makeup may have been altered in ways that promote the spread of cancer, the study reports.  You can read the original article here: “Cancer Can Change Tissue That Surrounds It, University of California Study Finds.”

The key difference in genetic composition of the surrounding tissue after the appearance of the tumor is that it contains more genes that can generate inflammation-promoting proteins.  This increased inflammation can help the spread of cancer, including prostate cancer.  Researchers at the University of California San Francisco conducted the first large-scale molecular-level analysis of normal tissue surrounding tumors.  The team found that this genetic change can occur in several different cancers, thus underling the importance of the study findings.  The tumors are secreting a factor/substance that is changing the nearby healthy tissue, and possibly even distant tissues as well.

In many cancer studies, the researchers will compare malignant tissue with the normal surrounding tissue to check for changes occurring in the cancer tissue.  These new findings suggest that while the surrounding tissue may appear normal, they in fact may be altered.  In addition to providing scientists with new insights into tumor biology, this study should also serve as a caution to other researchers that the surrounding tissue may be in fact altered, and shouldn’t just assume it is truly normal.