Four Hallmarks of Metastasis

Metastasis is defined as the spreading of cancer cells from the place where they first formed to another part of the body. Once cancer has metastasized, it can become more difficult to treat, increasing the chances that a patient will die of the disease.

Danny Welch, PhD.

Recently, Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), featured a literature review by Danny Welch, PhD, associate director of education at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, in which he identified four primary hallmarks of metastasis. They are: motility and invasion; the ability to migrate to a secondary site or local microenvironment; adaptability; and the ability to colonize other tissues.

Welch explained that understanding the characteristics of metastasis can help researchers identify “vulnerabilities” that could allow for controlling or preventing the process.

“There is nothing more important—it is metastases that kill patients,” Welch said.

The full article is available here and a video interview with Welch is available on the University of Kansas website.

We’d love to share research highlights like this from other cancer centers. If you’ve published articles or blogged about your institution’s research, and would like to see it featured on Cancer Research Catalyst and shared on the AACR’s social media, please contact us.