Against the grain

Against the grain - Kristy Shield-Artin, Suzan Sam Art of Science submission
Kristy Shield-Artin, Suzan Sam
Created | 2022

While survival rates have been improving, cancer remains the leading cause of death in Australia. Going against the grain, patients who develop three or more different cancers have overall better survival rates, with reported life expectancies similar to the general population.

To understand more about this extraordinary phenomenon, Kristy and Suzan are analysing the cells in the tumours and associated tumour microenvironment of these rare patients.

Pictured is a thin section of a mucinous lung adenocarcinoma (a rare type of lung cancer) from a patient who has developed and survived three cancers over more than a decade.

Each colour represents a different cell type in the microenvironment. Blue tumour cells swirl around a yellow centre of secreted mucin. The surrounding lung tissue in green shows the reactive changes stimulated by the tumour. Further analysis of these types of images may help uncover the key to improving all cancer survival.