Metastases

What makes pancreatic cancer so aggressive?

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive tumour types because it starts forming metastases early. The cancer itself, however, is usually only discovered late. This leads to a high patient mortality rate. Researchers ...

Apr 18, 2017
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What Netflix can teach us about treating cancer

Two years ago, former President Barack Obama announced the Precision Medicine initiative in his State of the Union Address. The initiative aspired to a "new era of medicine" where disease treatments could be specifically ...

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Breast milk as a weapon against cancer

In an FWF-funded project, scientists at the University of Graz modified and reinforced a host defence peptide from breast milk so as to enable it to specifically detect cancer cells. The active substance can then induce cell ...

Apr 10, 2017
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Mark of malignancy identified in prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second deadliest cancer in men in the U.S. It kills more than 26,000 men in the country every year. But, as in the case of breast cancer, one prostate cancer will progress rapidly while another tumor ...

Mar 31, 2017
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How randomness helps cancer cells thrive

In a research effort that merged genetics, physics and information theory, a team at the schools of medicine and engineering at The Johns Hopkins University has added significantly to evidence that large regions of the human ...

Mar 27, 2017
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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

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