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Cell Cycle. 2006 Apr;5(8):812-7. Epub 2006 Apr 17.

Lymphatic or hematogenous dissemination: how does a metastatic tumor cell decide?

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Center for Cancer Research and Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


The formation of distant metastases is the deadliest phase of cancer progression. Although numerous studies have identified genes and mechanisms that affect metastasis after tumors have reached secondary sites, our knowledge about how cancer cells initially gain access to systemic circulation is limited. Since tumors can enter the blood directly by intravasating into venous capillaries or indirectly via lymphatics, it is important to evaluate the relative contributions of both pathways as routes of egress from the primary site. Insights into tumor and stromal factors governing the intravasation process may help explain why certain tumors exhibit "preferred" pathways for metastatic dissemination, both clinically and in experimental animal models.

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