Metastases

When cancer cells stop acting like cancer

Cancer cells crowded tightly together suddenly surrender their desire to spread, and this change of heart is related to a cellular pathway that controls organ size. These two stunning observations are reported ...

Mar 16, 2015
popularity 117 comments 2

Team finds new route for ovarian cancer spread

Circulating tumor cells spread ovarian cancer through the bloodstream, homing in on a sheath of abdominal fatty tissue where it can grow and metastasize to other organs, scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer ...

Jul 14, 2014
popularity 0 comments 0

HIV drug blocks bone metastases in prostate cancer

Although prostate cancer can be successfully treated in many men, when the disease metastasizes to the bone, it is eventually lethal. In a study published online December 1st in the journal Cancer Research, resear ...

Dec 01, 2014
popularity 0 comments 0

Metastasis, or metastatic disease (sometimes abbreviated mets), is the spread of a disease from one organ or part to another non-adjacent organ or part. It was previously thought that only malignant tumor cells and infections have the capacity to metastasize; however, this is being reconsidered due to new research. The word metastasis means "displacement" in Greek, from μετά, meta, "next", and στάσις, stasis, "placement". The plural is metastases.

Cancer occurs after a single cell in a tissue is progressively genetically damaged to produce a cancer stem cell possessing a malignant phenotype. These cancer stem cells are able to undergo uncontrolled abnormal mitosis, which serves to increase the total number of cancer cells at that location. When the area of cancer cells at the originating site becomes clinically detectable, it is called a primary tumor. Some cancer cells also acquire the ability to penetrate and infiltrate surrounding normal tissues in the local area, forming a new tumor. The newly formed "daughter" tumor in the adjacent site within the tissue is called a local metastasis.

Some cancer cells acquire the ability to penetrate the walls of lymphatic and/or blood vessels, after which they are able to circulate through the bloodstream (circulating tumor cells) to other sites and tissues in the body. This process is known (respectively) as lymphatic or hematogeneous spread.

After the tumor cells come to rest at another site, they re-penetrate through the vessel or walls, continue to multiply, and eventually another clinically detectable tumor is formed. This new tumor is known as a metastatic (or secondary) tumor. Metastasis is one of three hallmarks of malignancy (contrast benign tumors). Most tumors and other neoplasms can metastasize, although in varying degrees (e.g. basal cell carcinoma) rarely metastasize.

When tumor cells metastasize, the new tumor is called a secondary or metastatic tumor, and its cells are like those in the original tumor. This means, for example, that, if breast cancer metastasizes to the lungs, the secondary tumor is made up of abnormal breast cells, not of abnormal lung cells. The tumor in the lung is then called metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

New insight into how brain makes memories

Every time you make a memory, somewhere in your brain a tiny filament reaches out from one neuron and forms an electrochemical connection to a neighboring neuron.

Study sheds new light on brain's source of power

New research published today in the journal Nature Communications represents a potentially fundamental shift in our understanding of how nerve cells in the brain generate the energy needed to function. The st ...

Babies feel pain 'like adults'

The brains of babies 'light up' in a very similar way to adults when exposed to the same painful stimulus, a pioneering Oxford University brain scanning study has discovered. It suggests that babies experience ...