Metastasis – the process by which cancer cells leave their tumor-of-origin, enter the blood stream and colonize distant tissues – is responsible for 90% of cancer deaths. The first step in this complex process is invasion into surrounding tissue and blood vessels, which requires the degradation of connective tissue (extracellular matrix) that compartmentalizes these sub-regions. But how does this occur? How do cells that are normally stagnant acquire the ability to move? There are myriad answers to this question, but this recent research explains how cancer cells may move through tight spaces by producing matrix metalloprotease enzymes, which act as molecular scissors to cut through connective tissue.
Cancer Metastasis