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Cancer Res. 2002 Apr 1;62(7):2125-30.

Collective cell movement in primary melanoma explants: plasticity of cell-cell interaction, beta1-integrin function, and migration strategies.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Würzburg, 97080 Würzburg, Germany.


Collective cell movement represents an efficient dissemination strategy in neoplastic epithelial and mesenchymal cancer. In primary melanoma explants cultured in three-dimensional collagen lattices, invasive migration of multicellular clusters was dependent on the function of beta1 integrins, as shown by preferential beta1-integrin expression and clustering in a subset of promigratory cells at the leading edge ("guiding cells") and the abrogation of multicellular migration by adhesion-perturbing anti-beta1-integrin antibody. Interference with beta1-integrin function induced complex changes in cluster polarity and cohesion, including development of two or several opposing leading edges, cluster disruption, and the detachment of individual cells followed by beta1-integrin-independent "amoeboid" crawling and dissemination. The conversion from beta1-integrin-dependent collective movement to beta1-integrin-independent single-cell motility suggests efficient cellular and molecular plasticity in tumor cell migration strategies.

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