Metastases

Trading in the scalpel for a sharper blade

Losing a breast or a lung to cancer leaves a scar, both physical and emotional. But even a biopsy to determine if a tumor is cancerous, or to track a tumor's response to drugs, brings short-term pain and can miss signs of ...

Feb 22, 2017
popularity0 comments 0

Melanoma—taming a migratory menace

The deadliest cancer of the skin is cutaneous melanoma. In 2017 over 160,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma, and over half will have invasive disease, or one that has gone beyond the skin and which carries ...

Feb 03, 2017
popularity1 comments 0

Immune system plays dual role in breast cancer

The immune system plays a paradoxical role in the spread of breast cancer. Some immune cells contribute to metastasis, while other cells can be activated to strengthen the effect of chemotherapy. Kelly Kersten made this discovery ...

Feb 08, 2017
popularity18 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

How your brain makes articles go viral

It is a question that has mystified countless people: Why does one article spread like wildfire through social media and another—seemingly similar—doesn't? How does your brain decide what is valuable enough to read and ...

Autism risk genes linked to evolving brain

Genetic variants linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may have been positively selected during human evolution because they also contribute to enhanced cognition, a new Yale study suggests.

New studies illustrate how gamers get good

We all know that practice makes us better at things, but scientists are still trying to understand what kinds of practice work best. A research team led by a Brown University computer scientist has found insights about how ...

Molecule stops fatal pediatric brain tumor

Northwestern Medicine scientists have found a molecule that stops the growth of an aggressive pediatric brain tumor. The tumor is always fatal and primarily strikes children under 10 years old.

Effects of genes often influenced by network

When many genes regulate a single trait, they commonly work together in large clusters or 'networks". Taking this into account allows better predictions of how an individual's genetic make-up affects the trait concerned. ...