Cancer-associated mortality is frequently caused by metastasis, however, our understanding of this process remains incomplete and therapeutic options are limited. Metastasis is a dynamic multi-step process involving intravasation of tumor cells into the host's blood and lymphatic vessels, their dissemination within the circulation, and finally arrest and extravasation in a distant organ where they establish secondary tumors. It is generally conceived that platelets contribute to all steps of hematogenous tumor dissemination. In this review, we provide an overview of the current knowledge of the platelet receptors involved in tumor cell-induced platelet aggregation, an essential immune surveillance escape mechanism of circulating tumor cells. We discuss how platelets prevent immunological attack, contribute to tumor cell extravasation and thereby facilitate colonization of distant organs.
Keywords: Aggregation; Cancer; Platelet signaling; Thrombosis; Tumor metastasis.
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