Metastasis and Fucoidan Research has shown that fucoidan directly affects cancer cells, causing apoptosis (cell death) in addition to enhancing immune reactions to cancer.
Metastasis is the mechanism that cancers use to spread around the body. In order to metastasize, cancer cells need to evade immune surveillance, survive and invade a new tissue. Earlier research has suggested that fucoidan can inhibit metastasis of solid tumor's.
Cancer cells may use selectins to attach to endothelial surfaces prior to invading a new tissue space. A pivotal paper by Gassmann et al demonstrated that metastasis could be inhibited in part by selectin blockade with fucoidan in animal models. Fucoidan also alters the interaction of stromal derived factor (SDF1) with heparan sulphate on the cell surface, potentially blocking the traffic of metastasizing cells.
Furthermore, fucoidan inhibits the activity of enzymes that break down connective tissues, which is associated with metastasis. Other mechanisms by which fucoidan can block metastasis are now being uncovered. In another recent study, researchers looked at the effect of Undaria pinnatifida fucoidan on the highly metastatic mouse liver cancer (hepatocarcinoma) Hca-F cell line in vitro and in vivo.
Fucoidan inhibited tumour metastasis in vivo and cancer cell growth, migration, invasion, and adhesion capabilities in vitro. Several markers were affected, involving inactivation of the NF-κß pathway mediated by PI3K/Akt and ERK signalling pathways. As this research progresses, we can expect more findings to support a potential role for fucoidan to be developed and applied as an anti-metastatic agent.
Gassmann P, Kang ML, Mees ST, Haier J. In vivo tumor cell adhesion in the pulmonary microvasculature is exclusively mediated by tumor cell-endothelial cell interaction. BMC Cancer. 2010 Apr 30;10:177. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-177. Wang P, Liu Z, Liu X, Teng H, Zhang C, Hou L, Zou X.Anti-metastasis effect of fucoidan from Undaria pinnatifida sporophylls in mouse hepatocarcinoma Hca-F cells. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 27;9(
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