Understanding Metastasis - For Scientists

The Metastasis Perspective Project aims to synthesize and annotate our current understanding of metastasis, highlight ongoing research and identify current treatment strategies for metastatic cancer.


Join us and contribute to this ongoing research project.

Your additions, corrections and annotations will bring about a comprehensive
& dynamic information resource that will serve all of us.

Our Goal

Our goal is to provide a succinct yet in-depth perspective of metastasis. This section is designed for scientists and professionals with an existing understanding of cancer and the progression of cancer toward metastatic disease. Our current understanding of metastasis is in large part based on landmark discoveries from the past two decades. We provide an introduction to metastasis and a patient's perspective in "Understanding Metastasis - For Patients".


The Definition of Metastasis

Tumor metastasis (from the Greek “change of place”) is the movement of tumor cells from the site where the cancer began, to grow in other sites of the body. It is a complex process that, even today, is only partially understood today at its biochemical and molecular levels. When a cancer patient wakes from surgery and asks “Has it spread?”, they are asking if the tumor has metastasized. For many cancers, surgery and radiation therapy remove or destroy the the primary tumor. It is the spread of cancer cells to other (secondary) sites and their growth in these sites that can contribute to some cancer patients’ sickness (morbidity) and deaths (mortality). For a general discussion of cancer metastasis, visit our "Understanding Metastasis - for Patients"


The Language of Metastasis.

To understand and communicate effectively, a common understanding of the terminology is needed. A brief review of the metastasis vocabulary can be found here: 

primary tumor; secondary site; metastatic cascade; dissemination; metastasis; metastatic site; metastatic processes; systemic disease; invasion; cell motility; cell migration; tumor-host interaction; tumor microenvironment; pre-metastatic niche; metastatic lesion; colonization; staging; targeted therapy (put in table).



Project Objectives:


1) work along defined aspects of the metastatic cascade,

2) restrict the Language to a predefined vocabulary,

3) incorporating relevant citations, images and links,

4) keep the main page simple and succinct but use embedded windows to provide direct access to in-depth information without navigating away from this page.



The Primary Tumor



The Metastatic Cascade:



Local Invasion















Active metastatic disease



Clinical manifestation of metastases



Treating metastatic disease


metastasis v2

The Metastasis Research Society is dedicated to understanding the process of tumor metastasis on a cellular, molecular and biochemical basis; to the identification of potential therapeutics that would halt the metastatic process and their preclinical evaluation; and to working with clinicians to design and implement clinical trials to bring these new therapeutic strategies forward.


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