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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 1997;32(3):175-253.

The biochemistry of cancer dissemination.

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Molecular Signaling Section, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


The progression of a tumor cell from one of benign delimited proliferation to invasive and metastatic growth is the major cause of poor clinical outcome of cancer patients. Recent research has revealed that this complex process requires many components for successful dissemination and growth of the tumor cell at secondary sites. These include angiogenesis, enhanced extracellular matrix degradation via tumor and host-secreted proteases, tumor cell migration, and modulation of tumor cell adhesion. Each individual component is multifaceted and is discussed within this review with respect to historical and recent findings. The identification of components and their interrelationship have yielded new therapeutic targets leading to the development of agents that may prove effective in the treatment of cancer and its metastatic progression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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