Ecological paradigms to understand the dynamics of metastasis.

The process by which prostate cancer cells non-randomly disseminate to the bone to form lethal metastases remains unknown. Metastasis is the ultimate consequence of the long-range dispersal of a cancer cell from the primary tumor to a distant secondary site.

In order to metastasize, the actively emigrating cell must move. Movement ecology describes an individual's migration between habitats without the requirement of conscious decision-making. Specifically, this paradigm describes four interacting components that influence the dynamic process of metastasis: (1) the microenvironmental pressures exerted on the cancer cell, (2) how the individual cell reacts to these external pressures, (3) the phenotypic switch of a cell to gain the physical traits required for movement, and (4) the ability of the cancer cell to navigate to a specific site. A deeper understanding of each of these components will lead to the development of novel therapeutics targeted to interrupt previously unidentified steps of metastasis.

Cancer letters. 2015 Oct 10 [Epub ahead of print]

Sarah R Amend, Sounak Roy, Joel S Brown, Kenneth J Pienta

Department of Urology, Johns Hopkins University, 600 N Wolfe St. , Marburg Building rm 105, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA. Department of Urology, Johns Hopkins University, 600 N Wolfe St. , Marburg Building rm 105, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA. , Department of Biological Sciences and UIC Cancer Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, 845 W. Taylor St. , Chicago, IL 60607, USA; Cancer Biology and Evolution, Moffitt Cancer Center. , Department of Urology, Johns Hopkins University, 600 N Wolfe St. , Marburg Building rm 105, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.

PubMed