Crossing the endothelial barrier during metastasis

Nat Rev Cancer. 2013 Dec;13(12):858-70. doi: 10.1038/nrc3628.


During metastasis, cancer cells disseminate to other parts of the body by entering the bloodstream in a process that is called intravasation. They then extravasate at metastatic sites by attaching to endothelial cells that line blood vessels and crossing the vessel walls of tissues or organs. This Review describes how cancer cells cross the endothelial barrier during extravasation and how different receptors, signalling pathways and circulating cells such as leukocytes and platelets contribute to this process. Identification of the mechanisms that underlie cancer cell extravasation could lead to the development of new therapies to reduce metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Basement Membrane / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cell Shape
  • Chemokines / physiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / pathology*
  • Transendothelial and Transepithelial Migration*


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Chemokines