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Nat Rev Cancer. 2006 Feb;6(2):141-6.

Host genetics influence tumour metastasis.

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Laboratory of Population Genetics, Center for Cancer Research/National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health, Building 41 Room D702, 41 Library Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-5060, USA.


The complexity of the metastatic process has made it difficult to gain a full understanding of the origins of this most lethal aspect of cancer. Many factors probably have an important role, including somatic mutation, epigenetic modulations, interactions with normal stroma, and environmental stimuli. Additionally, recent evidence implies a significant role for germline polymorphisms in cancer progression. The existence of inherited metastasis risk factors (or prospective metastatic biomarkers) has potentially significant implications for our models of metastasis, clinical prognosis and the development of tailored treatment. Further investigations into the inherited components of metastasis might help resolve many of the questions that remain about tumour progression.

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