Sloan Kettering Scientists Identify Potential New Strategy (STING Targeting) Against Metastasis

A team of scientists at the Sloan Kettering Institute have identified the STING cellular signaling pathway as a key player in keeping dormant cancer cells from progressing into aggressive tumors months, or even years, after they’ve escaped from a primary tumor. The findings, which were published in Nature on March 29, 2023, suggest that drugs to activate STING could help prevent the spread of cancer to new sites throughout the body--a process known as metastasis. The article is titled “STING Inhibits the Reactivation of Dormant Metastasis in Lung Adenocarcinoma.” In mouse models of lung cancer, treatment that stimulated the STING pathway helped eliminate lingering cancer cells and prevent them from progressing to aggressive metastases. Known as micrometastases, these cells, which can be found individually and in small clusters, are too small to be detected with standard imaging tests. "The majority of cancer deaths are caused by metastasis,” says Joan Massagué (photo), PhD, the study’s senior author and Director of the Sloan Kettering Institute--a hub for basic science and translational research within Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). “Anything we can do to keep these cells from waking up again or to help the immune system eliminate them could be of great benefit to many people. This research identified a previously unknown role for STING signaling in suppressing the development of aggressive metastasis.”
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