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Ann Oncol. 2008 Nov;19(11):1821-8. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdn386. Epub 2008 Jun 10.

The effects of surgery on tumor growth: a century of investigations.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milano, Italy.


A few clinical investigations suggest that while primary breast cancer surgical removal favorably modifies the natural history for some patients, it may also hasten the metastatic development for others. The concepts underlying this disease paradigm, i.e. tumor homeostasis, tumor dormancy and surgery-driven enhancement of metastasis development, have a long history that is reviewed. The review reveals the context in which these concepts were conceived and structured to explain experimental data and shows that they are not so new and far fetched. The idea that surgical cancer resection has both beneficial and adverse effects upon cancer spread and growth that result from the modulation of tumor dormancy by the resection should be considered a potentially fruitful working hypothesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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