Circulating tumor cells exit circulation while maintaining multicellularity, augmenting metastatic potential.


Metastasis accounts for the majority of all cancer deaths, yet the process remains poorly understood. A pivotal step in the metastasis process is the exiting of tumor cells from the circulation, a process known as extravasation. However, it is unclear how tumor cells extravasate and whether multicellular clusters of tumor cells possess the ability to exit as a whole or must first disassociate. In this study, we use in vivo zebrafish and mouse models to elucidate the mechanism tumor cells use to extravasate. We found that circulating tumor cells exit the circulation using the recently identified extravasation mechanism, angiopellosis, and do so as both clusters and individual cells. We further show that when melanoma and cervical cancer cells utilize this extravasation method to exit as clusters, they exhibit an increased ability to form tumors at distant sites through the expression of unique genetic profiles. Collectively, we present a new model for tumor cell extravasation of both individual and multicellular circulating tumor cells.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.





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Publication Info

Allen, Tyler A, Dana Asad, Emmanuel Amu, M Taylor Hensley, Jhon Cores, Adam Vandergriff, Junnan Tang, Phuong-Uyen Dinh, et al. (2019). Circulating tumor cells exit circulation while maintaining multicellularity, augmenting metastatic potential. Journal of cell science, 132(17). p. jcs231563. 10.1242/jcs.231563 Retrieved from

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Tyler Allen

Research Program Leader, Tier 1

Teng Su

Assistant Professor in Medicine

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