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Cancer Res. 2016 Nov 1;76(21):6159-6162. Epub 2016 Oct 11.

Connecting (T)issues: How Research in Fascia Biology Can Impact Integrative Oncology.

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Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Cell and Regenerative Biology, Wisconsin Institute of Medical Research, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
Bendheim Center for Integrative Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.
Department of Cell Biology and Immunology, Osteopathic Research Center, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas.
Fascia Research Group, Division of Neurophysiology, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.
Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.
Laboratory of Tissue Repair and Regeneration, Matrix Dynamics Group, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Institute of Molecular Engineering and Ben May Department of Cancer Research, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Supportive Oncology Research Team, Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre, Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, London, United Kingdom.
Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Department of Physical Medicine, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey.


Complementary and integrative treatments, such as massage, acupuncture, and yoga, are used by increasing numbers of cancer patients to manage symptoms and improve their quality of life. In addition, such treatments may have other important and currently overlooked benefits by reducing tissue stiffness and improving mobility. Recent advances in cancer biology are underscoring the importance of connective tissue in the local tumor environment. Inflammation and fibrosis are well-recognized contributors to cancer, and connective tissue stiffness is emerging as a driving factor in tumor growth. Physical-based therapies have been shown to reduce connective tissue inflammation and fibrosis and thus may have direct beneficial effects on cancer spreading and metastasis. Meanwhile, there is currently little knowledge on potential risks of applying mechanical forces in the vicinity of tumors. Thus, both basic and clinical research are needed to understand the full impact of integrative oncology on cancer biology as well as whole person health. Cancer Res; 76(21); 6159-62.

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