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J Cell Sci. 1985 Feb;73:235-44.

Skin fibroblasts obtained from cancer patients display foetal-like migratory behaviour on collagen gels.


When plated on the surface of collagen gel substrata, all types of fibroblasts rapidly begin to migrate down into the three-dimensional collagen matrix. We have previously demonstrated that normal (adult and foreskin), foetal and transformed fibroblasts may be distinguished from each other by virtue of their differential migratory response to changes in cell density. The effects of cell density on fibroblast migration into the gel may be expressed by a single numerical value, the 'cell density migration index' (CDMI). We now present evidence that ostensibly normal skin fibroblasts obtained from the majority of patients we examined with carcinoma of the breast, malignant melanoma, familial polyposis coli, retinoblastoma and Wilms' tumours display aberrant CDMI values falling within the foetal range. Skin fibroblasts obtained from the majority of patients examined with genetic or chronic diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy) displayed CDMI values falling within the normal range.

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