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Haemostasis. 1988;18(1):29-36.

Platelet contribution to the formation of metastatic foci: the role of cancer cell-induced platelet activation.

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  • 1Servicio Hemoterapia y Hemostasia, Hospital Clinic i Provincial, Barcelona, Spain.


Platelets are thought to be involved in the development of blood borne metastasis. Ultrastructural and experimental studies demonstrate that association between tumor cells and platelets with subsequent activation of the coagulation cascade takes place in malignancy. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the mechanisms by which tumor cells activate platelets including generation of thrombin, ADP release and involvement of arachidonate metabolism. Perfusion studies with human homologous systems showed that intact tumor cells and tumor cell microvesicles were able to induce platelet thrombogenicity under defined flow conditions. The presence of divalent cations and plasma factors was necessary for the cancer cells to exert their activating capacity. These results suggest a role for platelets in the development of secondary metastasis as well as in the thrombotic events of malignancy.

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