The third hallmark of cancer cells is tissue invasion and metastasis (spreading) which is a major source of mortality in cancer patients. Cancer spreads when gene mutations allow transformed cells to break free from the primary tumor and travel through the bloodstream to establish a new colony of cells at another location.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) defines metastasis as “the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. A tumor formed by cells that have spread is called a “metastatic tumor” or a “metastasis.” The metastatic tumor contains cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumor. The plural form of metastasis is metastases (meh-TAS-tuh-SEEZ).” The NCI site also include a really informative fact sheet about metastatic cancers which answers some commonly-asked questions.
LI-COR® offers products that can be used to research invasion and metastasis in cancer laboratory models. One such study involved the use of IRDye® 800CW RGD (a BrightSite™ small animal imaging agent) and the use of the Pearl® Impulse Small Animal Imaging System.
For more information on the hallmarks of cancer, journal references, cancer organizations, and the products that LI-COR offers to support cancer researchers, visit our website.