Cancer cell motility: lessons from migration in confined spaces

Nat Rev Cancer. 2017 Feb;17(2):131-140. doi: 10.1038/nrc.2016.123. Epub 2016 Dec 2.


Time-lapse, deep-tissue imaging made possible by advances in intravital microscopy has demonstrated the importance of tumour cell migration through confining tracks in vivo. These tracks may either be endogenous features of tissues or be created by tumour or tumour-associated cells. Importantly, migration mechanisms through confining microenvironments are not predicted by 2D migration assays. Engineered in vitro models have been used to delineate the mechanisms of cell motility through confining spaces encountered in vivo. Understanding cancer cell locomotion through physiologically relevant confining tracks could be useful in developing therapeutic strategies to combat metastasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement
  • Confined Spaces
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein / physiology


  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein