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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2011 Jul 18;63(8):582-96. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2011.01.010. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Cancer cell invasion: treatment and monitoring opportunities in nanomedicine.

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  • 1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-2120, USA.


Cell invasion is an intrinsic cellular pathway whereby cells respond to extracellular stimuli to migrate through and modulate the structure of their extracellular matrix (ECM) in order to develop, repair, and protect the body's tissues. In cancer cells this process can become aberrantly regulated and lead to cancer metastasis. This cellular pathway contributes to the vast majority of cancer related fatalities, and therefore has been identified as a critical therapeutic target. Researchers have identified numerous potential molecular therapeutic targets of cancer cell invasion, yet delivery of therapies remains a major hurdle. Nanomedicine is a rapidly emerging technology which may offer a potential solution for tackling cancer metastasis by improving the specificity and potency of therapeutics delivered to invasive cancer cells. In this review we examine the biology of cancer cell invasion, its role in cancer progression and metastasis, molecular targets of cell invasion, and therapeutic inhibitors of cell invasion. We then discuss how the field of nanomedicine can be applied to monitor and treat cancer cell invasion. We aim to provide a perspective on how the advances in cancer biology and the field of nanomedicine can be combined to offer new solutions for treating cancer metastasis.

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