Illuminating the metastatic process
Until recently most studies of metastasis only measured the end point of the process--macroscopic metastases. Although these studies have provided much useful information, the details of the metastatic process remain somewhat mysterious owing to difficulties in studying cell behaviour with high spatial and temporal resolution in vivo. The use of luminescent and fluorescent proteins and developments in optical imaging technology have enabled the direct observation of cancer cells spreading from their site of origin and arriving at secondary sites. This Review will describe recent advances in our understanding of the different steps of metastasis gained from cellular resolution imaging, and how these techniques can be used in preclinical drug evaluation.
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