Cancer

From microfluidics to metastasis

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs)—an intermediate form of cancer cell between a primary and metastatic tumor cell—carry a treasure trove of information that is critical to treating cancer. Numerous engineering advancements ...

Cancer

Breast cancer cells in mice tricked into turning into fat cells

As cancer cells respond to cues in their microenvironment, they can enter a highly plastic state in which they are susceptible to transdifferentiation into a different type of cell. Researchers at the University of Basel ...

Cancer

Research to advance cancer therapy

Research led by Suresh Alahari, Ph.D., the Fred Brazda Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has found a new role for a protein discovered by his lab in preventing the ...

Cancer

Tumors backfire on chemotherapy

Some patients with breast cancer receive chemotherapy before the tumor is removed with surgery. This approach, called neoadjuvant therapy, helps to reduce the size of the tumor to facilitate breast-conserving surgery, and ...

Cancer

Researchers identify drug against the formation of metastasis

The most deadly aspect of breast cancer is metastasis, cancer cells spreading throughout the body. Researchers at the University and the University Hospital of Basel have now discovered a substance that suppresses the formation ...

Cancer

Breast cancer cells become invasive by changing their identity

Researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified a protein that determines the identity and invasive properties of breast cancer cells. The finding could lead to the development of new therapeutic and diagnostic ...

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Metastatic breast cancer is a stage of breast cancer where the disease has spread to distant metastases. It is a complication of primary breast cancer, usually occurring several years after resection of the primary breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer cells frequently differ from the preceding primary breast cancer in properties such as receptor status, have often developed resistance to several lines of previous treatment and acquired special properties that permit them metastasize to distant sites, making them especially dangerous. The prognosis is often poor, distant metastases are the cause of about 90% of deaths due to breast cancer.

Breast cancer primarily metastasizes to the bone, lungs, regional lymph nodes, liver and brain, with the most common site being the bone. Lymph node metastsasis into the sentinel node and few surrounding nodes is regarded as a treatable local event and not metastatic breast cancer, both when occurring at primary presentation or later.

Typical environmental barriers in a metastatic event include physical (a basement membrane), chemical (reactive oxygen species or ROS, hypoxia and low pH) and biological (immune surveillance, inhibitory cytokines and regulatory extra-cellular matrix (ECM) peptides) components. Organ-specific anatomic considerations also influence metastasis; these include blood-flow patterns from the primary tumor and the homing ability of cancer cells to certain tissues. The targeting by cancer cells of specific organs is probably regulated by chemo-attractant factors and adhesion molecules produced by the target organ, along with cell-surface receptors expressed by the tumor cells.

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