Cancer is a key health issue across the world, causing substantial patient morbidity and mortality. Patient prognosis is tightly linked with metastatic dissemination of the disease to distant sites, with metastatic diseases accounting for a vast percentage of cancer patient mortality. While advances in this area have been made, the process of cancer metastasis and the factors governing cancer spread and establishment at secondary locations is still poorly understood. The current article summarizes recent progress in this area of research, both in the understanding of the underlying biological processes and in the therapeutic strategies for the management of metastasis. This review lists the disruption of E-cadherin and tight junctions, key signaling pathways, including urokinase type plasminogen activator (uPA), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene (PI3K/AKT), focal adhesion kinase (FAK), β-catenin/zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB-1) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), together with inactivation of activator protein-1 (AP-1) and suppression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity as key targets and the use of phytochemicals, or natural products, such as those from Agaricus blazei, Albatrellus confluens, Cordyceps militaris, Ganoderma lucidum, Poria cocos and Silybum marianum, together with diet derived fatty acids gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and inhibitory compounds as useful approaches to target tissue invasion and metastasis as well as other hallmark areas of cancer. Together, these strategies could represent new, inexpensive, low toxicity strategies to aid in the management of cancer metastasis as well as having holistic effects against other cancer hallmarks.
Keywords: Cancer metastasis; Cancer therapy; Invasion.
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