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Insights into Metastasis

Insights into Metastasis
Two views of a tumor cell (green) extending an invadopodium (arrow) within a human breast tumor. At left, the tumor cell against a black background. At right, the tumor cell’s invadopodium seen penetrating a blood vessel wall—a crucial step enabling tumor cells to exit primary tumors and metastasize.

Invadopodia are cancer-cell protrusions that forge pathways allowing cancer cells to metastasize from one site to another. A study from the laboratory of John S. Condeelis, Ph.D., published in the November 4, 2013 issue of Current Biology, offers a three-step sequential model for how cancer cells assemble their invadopodia. The study also found that two proteins and a membrane lipid cooperate in forming and stabilizing invadopodia.

The findings suggest that metastasis might be prevented by targeting one or more of the molecules responsible for forming invadopodia. Dr. Condeelis is a professor and co-chair of anatomy and structural biology, co-director of the Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center and of the EGL Charitable Foundation Integrated Imaging Program, scientific director of the Analytical Imaging Facility and director of the Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Program of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center. He also holds the Judith and Burton P. Resnick Chair in Translational Research.