There has been a lot of interest to zero on the mechanism of metastasis of tumor cells. It is being increasingly evident that tumour cell migrate by formation of invadopodia. Invadopodias are small foot-like structures that enable the tumour cells to move in and out of the blood vessel by crawling through the extracellular matrix (ECM).
During intra-vascular migration, cancer cells take amoeboid movement and form protrusive structures identified as invadopodia and stick to certain places in the inner layer (endothelium) of the blood vessels. Invadopadias are enriched with MT1-MMP, cortactin, Tks4, and importantly Tks5, which are proteins and enzymes required for extracellular matrix (ECM) digestion; prerequisite for tunnel formation for migration of cells. Invadopodia release enzymes that degrade the ECM, while other protrusions pull the cancer cell along, much like a locomotive pulls a train.
|The blackish part is cell and the grey part is matrix|
This has been demonstrated by the researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University that there exists a signaling pathway in cancer cells that controls their ability to invade nearby tissues in a finely orchestrated manner.
The findings offer insights into the early molecular events involved in metastasis, the deadly spread of cancer cells from primary tumour to other parts of the body. The study was published in May, 2014 online edition of Nature Cell Biology.
A research article published in the PLOS One elucidate the mechanisms through in-vitro assays that mimic the process of cancer cell invasion through basement membrane or in the stroma.
In fact, to stop invadopodia formation may a way to stop metastasis.