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Researchers discover four hallmarks of cancer metastasis

ANI | Updated: May 04, 2019 13:39 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], May 4 (ANI): The four hallmarks of cancer metastasis have been identified as Motility and invasion, modulation of the microenvironment, plasticity and ability to colonise by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Cancer metastasis -- when cancer has spread to different parts of the body from where it started- is believed to be the cause of up to 90 per cent of cancer deaths.
Researcher Douglas Hurst conducted a literature review of more than 10,000 publications on metastasis and published the findings in Cancer Research, from the American Association for Cancer Research.
Metastasis cancer spread to different parts of the body from where it has started. It is believed to be the cause of up to 90 per cent of cancer deaths.
Metastasis can be very difficult to treat. Virtually any cancer type can form metastatic tumours. The most common sites for cancers to metastasise include the brain, bones, lungs and liver. Other areas include the adrenal gland, lymph nodes, skin and other organs.
By defining the unique properties of metastatic cancer cells, Hurst said, he hopes to provide a conceptual framework to accelerate the discovery of treatment strategies.
"Our attempts to identify the underlying first principles of the metastatic process hopefully provide a means for simplifying the processes that are essential for all metastases to develop," the authors said in the review.
Defining the hallmarks of metastasis has been complicated by both heterogeneity among tumour cells, and the myriad interactions with other molecules and cells throughout the process, according to the authors.
Hurst and Danny Welch, another researcher, said they hope that refining definitions and bringing together diverse data will identify vulnerabilities that metastasis researchers can exploit in the quest to treat cancer metastasis.
"Metastasis is a highly complex pathological process. Increased specificity in defining the underlying principles is important to better understand and interpret the literature to move forward in the development of therapeutic interventions," explained Hurst. (ANI)