Scientists from the University of Vanderbilt in US have discovered a new mechanism for the metastasis of cancerous tumors: they found that cancer cells choose a less energy-consuming pathway for migration to other tissues and organs of the body, MedicalXpress reported.
Malignant cells, as scientists have discovered, prefer to travel across wide rather than narrow spaces in the intercellular matrix. Energy consumption and metabolism turned out to be important factors in the formation of metastases, and thanks to this discovery, according to scientists, it is possible to predict which paths the cells will migrate and even map their movements.
With the spread of cancer, the extracellular matrix becomes disorganized, pores and narrow channels are formed with a width of three to 30 micrometers. When some tumor cells form channels and micro tracks for movement, others begin to use them for fast movement and distribution.
This explains why matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors are not always effective against metastasis in the final stage of cancer. Understanding the mechanisms of cell movement through the micro tracks may possibly help in the development of new therapies.