New perspectives on hereditary influences in metastatic progression

Trends Genet. 2006 Oct;22(10):555-61. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2006.07.009. Epub 2006 Aug 4.


Metastasis, the process by which cancer cells spread to distant sites and form secondary tumors, depends upon the ability of cells to escape the primary tumor, and colonize and proliferate in a novel microenvironment. Many mechanisms have been proposed to explain this phenomenon although no theory has comprehensively explained all biological observations. There is growing evidence that host hereditary factors modulate the ability of tumor cells to form metastatic lesions, and host genetic polymorphism could be a significant variable in this process. This review is intended to illustrate the role of hereditary variation in metastatic progression, how this integrates with currently proposed metastatic mechanisms, and the potential clinical impact on this frequently fatal consequence of cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Polymorphism, Genetic