Cancer Metastasis: Building a Framework

Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.
Cell (Impact Factor: 33.12). 12/2006; 127(4):679-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2006.11.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT How tumors spread and kill their host organism remains an enigma, but not for lack of attention. For more than a century, cancer biologists have postulated that metastasis results from the interplay of wandering tumor cells with permissive target tissues. Yet, decades of scrutiny into the molecular bases of cancer have largely focused on what causes oncogenic transformation and the incipient emergence of tumors. By comparison, the study of how tumor cells take steps toward metastasis (that is, by altering their microenvironment, entering the circulation, and colonizing a distant organ) has received less attention. Progressively, however, the idea has emerged that tumors are more than just a mass of transformed cells. A renewed focus on the problem of metastasis is now apparent, and for good reason—metastasis remains the cause of 90% of deaths from solid tumors.

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