Radiation therapy is a keystone treatment in cancer. Photon radiation has proved its benefits in overall survival in many clinical studies. However, some patients present local recurrences or metastases when cancer cells survive to treatment. Metastasis is a process which includes adhesion of the cell to the extracellular matrix, degradation of the matrix by proteases, cell motility, intravasation in blood or lymphatic vessels, extravasation in distant parenchyma and development of cell colonies. Several studies demonstrated that ionizing radiation might promote migration and invasion of tumor cells by intricate implications in the micro-environment, cell-cell junctions, extracellular matrix junctions, proteases secretion, and induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition. This review reports various cellular pathways involved in the photon-enhanced cell invasion process for which potential therapeutic target may be employed for enhancing antitumor effectiveness. Understanding these mechanisms could lead to therapeutic strategies to counter the highly invasive cell lines via specific inhibitors or carbon-ion therapy.
Keywords: Carbon ion; Cell invasion; Epithelial–mesenchymal transition; Radiation-enhanced; Stroma.
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