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Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Istituto di Ricerca in Biomedicina

Via Vincenzo Vela 6 - CH-6500 Bellinzona
Tel. +41 91 820 0300 - Fax +41 91 820 0302 - info [at] irb [dot] usi [dot] ch

New paper from the Uguccioni’s lab on a study that reveals how a local anaesthetic can inhibit cell migration

on Friday, September 7, 2018

The group of Dr. Uguccioni has revealed the mechanism by which lidocaine, a well-known local anaesthetic, inhibits the ability of breast cancer cells to respond to chemotactic stimuli, thus suggesting how this drug can contribute to block metastases. The discovery is the result of the joint effort of a team of researchers guided by Dr. Mariagrazia Uguccioni at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, and the Services of Anaesthesia of the Bellinzona Regional Hospital and the University of Zurich. The study has been published in the latest issue of the British Journal of Anaesthesia, a leading international journal in the field of anaestesiology.

In the past, epidemiological studies have shown in cancer patients that there is a link between receiving local anesthesia and a reduction in the incidence of subsequent tumour relapses. To explain this correlation, various hypotheses had been formulated, such as the reduction of stress during surgery, or the direct inhibitory effect of certain anaesthetics. However, the real mechanism of this observed protective effect was not elucidated so far.

Lidocaine treatment inhibits CXCL12-induced in vitro migration (A) and actin polymerisation (B) of MDA-MB-231 cells

The use of lidocaine during surgery can thus limit the possibility of cancer cells to migrate, which may result in a reduction of the risk of subsequent metastases. Future studies will be conducted ex vivo to verify the present findings in cells isolated from primary tumors, with the aim of indicating new strategies to support the current therapies for fighting breast cancer.


Lidocaine inhibits cytoskeletal remodelling and human breast cancer cell migration

D'Agostino, G., Saporito, A., Cecchinato, V., Silvestri, Y., Borgeat, A., Anselmi, L., Uguccioni, M.

British Journal of Anaesthesia

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bja.2018.07.015