Clinical patterns of metastasis

Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2006 Jun;25(2):221-32. doi: 10.1007/s10555-006-8502-8.


In human solid cancer, lymph node status is the most important indicator for clinical outcome. Recent developments in the sentinel lymph node concept and technology have resulted in a more precise way of examining micrometastasis in the sentinel lymph node and the role of lymphovascular system in the facilitation of cancer metastasis. Different patterns of metastasis are described with respect to different types of solid cancer. Expect perhaps for papillary carcinoma and sarcoma, the overwhelming evidence is that solid cancer progresses in an orderly progression from the primary site to the regional lymph node or the sentinel lymph node in the majority of cases with subsequent dissemination to the systemic sites. The basic mechanisms of cancer metastasis through the lymphovascular system form the basis of rational therapy against cancer. Beyond the clinical patterns of metastasis, it is imperative to understand the biology of metastasis and to characterize patterns of metastasis perhaps due to heterogeneous clones based on their molecular signatures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / secondary
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / secondary
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Sarcoma / secondary
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology