Professor Robert Weinberg, explains that cancer cells have to learn how to invade and metastasize.
Most of the deaths from human cancers (90%) are due to cancer cells spreading and establishing colonies in other parts of the body.
Robert Weinberg, Ph.D., Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research:
“Cancer cells also have to learn how to invade and metastasize. And that, in fact, is involved in the inactivation of a whole series of controls that normally confines a cell to the site and the tissue where it normally grows – enabling these cells to move to other sites in the body.”
In 2000, Douglas Hanahan (shown below) and Robert Weinberg published a paper in Cell, "The Hallmarks of Cancer," which identified some organizing principles of cancer cell development.
“Cancers kill you, in general, not just because they grow into a large lump, but because they invade into normal tissues and disrupt the functions of those tissues and they develop the ability to migrate to distant sites in the body. And these capabilities of invasion and metastasis, which are very closely linked but perhaps have separable aspects as well, are very important for the fatality of most cancers. And this is the one that's perhaps least connected to simple cell growth and accumulation of the cells, but actually are producing cells that really are able to sustain themselves, expand, and migrate.”
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