Motivation for Launching a Cancer Metastasis Inhibition (CMI) Program

Target Oncol. 2018 Feb;13(1):61-68. doi: 10.1007/s11523-017-0542-1.


Metastatic cancers impose significant burdens on patients, affecting quality of life, morbidity, and mortality. Even during remission, microscopic metastases can lurk, but few therapies directly target tumor cell metastasis. Agents that interfere with this process would represent a new paradigm in cancer management, changing the 'waiting game' into a time of active prevention. These therapies could take multiple forms based on the pathways involved in the metastatic process. For example, a phenome-wide association study showed that a single nucleotide polymorphism in the gene TBXA2R is associated with increased metastasis in multiple primary cancers (P = 0.003), suggesting clinical applicability of TBXA2R antagonists. Emerging data related to the role of platelets in metastasis are concordant with our sense that these pathways present significant opportunities for therapeutic development. However, before real progress can be made toward clinical targeting of the metastatic process, foundational work is needed to define informative measures of critical elements such as circulating tumor cells and tumor DNA, and circulatory vs. lymphatic spread. These challenges require an expansion of team science and composition to obtain competitive funding. At our academic medical center, we have implemented a Cancer Metastasis Inhibition (CMI) program investigating this approach across multiple cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Humans
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / prevention & control*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*