An Overview of Metastasis
Metastasis refers to the process in which a tumor spreads from its primary site throughout the body of the host, to produce secondary tumors of the same type in other locations. This is a multi-step process. The first step is the invasion of the tumor cells through the extracellular matrix to reach the bloodstream. This can happen only after the tumor cells undergo a change in functional morphology called EMT, the epithelial to mesenchymal transition.
Key Factors and Enzymes
Some enzymes are released by the tumor cell, such as the gelatinase MMP-2 and MMP-9, that can degrade or break down the basement membrane of the epithelial layer in which the tumor develops. This breakdown allows the tumor to invade secondary sites.
Following this type of invasion, a secondary tumor can develop at that site. It releases growth factors to stimulate angiogenesis, like VEGF, and thus produces its own private blood supply. Angiogenesis is the process by which feeder blood vessels develop to nourish a secondary tumor.
What to Expect from this Poster
The poster on cell adhesion and metastasis is designed to help the reader understand the whole process of tumor formation and spreading, all the way from EMT to angiogenesis. The important factors that have an impact on this phenomenon are dealt and the effects of the tumor cell environment on metastasis are also emphasized.
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