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      Initial steps of metastasis: Cell invasion and endothelial transmigration


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          Metastasis is the leading cause of cancer mortality. The metastatic cascade represents a multi-step process which includes local tumor cell invasion, entry into the vasculature followed by the exit of carcinoma cells from the circulation and colonization at the distal sites. At the earliest stage of successful cancer cell dissemination, the primary cancer adapts the secondary site of tumor colonization involving the tumor–stroma crosstalk. The migration and plasticity of cancer cells as well as the surrounding environment such as stromal and endothelial cells are mandatory. Consequently, the mechanisms of cell movement are of utmost relevance for targeted intervention of which three different types have been reported. Tumor cells can migrate either collectively, in a mesenchymal or in an amoeboid type of movement and intravasate the blood or lymph vasculature. Intravasation by the interaction of tumor cells with the vascular endothelium is mechanistically poorly understood. Changes in the epithelial plasticity enable carcinoma cells to switch between these types of motility. The types of migration may change depending on the intervention thereby increasing the velocity and aggressiveness of invading cancer cells. Interference with collective or mesenchymal cell invasion by targeting integrin expression or metalloproteinase activity, respectively, resulted in an amoeboid cell phenotype as the ultimate exit strategy of cancer cells. There are little mechanistic details reported in vivo showing that the amoeboid behavior can be either reversed or efficiently inhibited. Future concepts of metastasis intervention must simultaneously address the collective, mesenchymal and amoeboid mechanisms of cell invasion in order to advance in anti-metastatic strategies as these different types of movement can coexist and cooperate. Beyond the targeting of cell movements, the adhesion of cancer cells to the stroma in heterotypic circulating tumor cell emboli is of paramount relevance for anti-metastatic therapy.

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          Epithelial-mesenchymal transitions in development and disease.

          The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays crucial roles in the formation of the body plan and in the differentiation of multiple tissues and organs. EMT also contributes to tissue repair, but it can adversely cause organ fibrosis and promote carcinoma progression through a variety of mechanisms. EMT endows cells with migratory and invasive properties, induces stem cell properties, prevents apoptosis and senescence, and contributes to immunosuppression. Thus, the mesenchymal state is associated with the capacity of cells to migrate to distant organs and maintain stemness, allowing their subsequent differentiation into multiple cell types during development and the initiation of metastasis.
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            Microenvironmental regulation of metastasis.

            Metastasis is a multistage process that requires cancer cells to escape from the primary tumour, survive in the circulation, seed at distant sites and grow. Each of these processes involves rate-limiting steps that are influenced by non-malignant cells of the tumour microenvironment. Many of these cells are derived from the bone marrow, particularly the myeloid lineage, and are recruited by cancer cells to enhance their survival, growth, invasion and dissemination. This Review describes experimental data demonstrating the role of the microenvironment in metastasis, identifies areas for future research and suggests possible new therapeutic avenues.
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              Identification of selective inhibitors of cancer stem cells by high-throughput screening.

              Screens for agents that specifically kill epithelial cancer stem cells (CSCs) have not been possible due to the rarity of these cells within tumor cell populations and their relative instability in culture. We describe here an approach to screening for agents with epithelial CSC-specific toxicity. We implemented this method in a chemical screen and discovered compounds showing selective toxicity for breast CSCs. One compound, salinomycin, reduces the proportion of CSCs by >100-fold relative to paclitaxel, a commonly used breast cancer chemotherapeutic drug. Treatment of mice with salinomycin inhibits mammary tumor growth in vivo and induces increased epithelial differentiation of tumor cells. In addition, global gene expression analyses show that salinomycin treatment results in the loss of expression of breast CSC genes previously identified by analyses of breast tissues isolated directly from patients. This study demonstrates the ability to identify agents with specific toxicity for epithelial CSCs.

                Author and article information

                Mutat Res Rev Mutat Res
                Mutat Res Rev Mutat Res
                Mutation Research. Reviews in Mutation Research
                Elsevier Science B.V
                1 July 2011
                July 2011
                : 728
                : 1-2
                : 23-34
                [a ]Department of Medicine I, Division: Institute of Cancer Research, Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, Borschkegasse 8a, 1090 Vienna, Austria
                [b ]Institute of Clinical Pathology, Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Tel.: +43 1 4277 65250; fax: +43 1 4277 65239. wolfgang.mikulits@ 123456meduniwien.ac.at
                © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

                This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.

                : 15 December 2010
                : 4 May 2011
                : 5 May 2011

                epithelial cell plasticity,cell invasion,intravasation,metastasis


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