Molecular Medicine Israel

Tumor cells educate the metastatic niche

Why primary tumors metastasize preferentially to particular organs is an important but still unanswered question in cancer biology. The tumor presumably communicates with the target organ, but how this long-distance molecular conversation occurs has been difficult to envisage. Enter exosomes, mysterious lipid vesicles that have been turning up in many diverse areas of biomedical research. Costa-Silva et al. show that well in advance of metastasis, primary tumor cells secrete exosomes that carry a specific molecular cargo to the target organ. This cargo helps transform the organ into a hospitable niche that supports the growth of metastatic cells. In the case of mouse pancreatic cancer, the exosomes carried a protein that induced a proinflammatory, tumor cell–friendly milieu in the liver….

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