Mechanisms of cancer metastasis

Semin Cancer Biol. 2022 Dec;87:17-31. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2022.10.006. Epub 2022 Oct 27.


Metastatic cancer is almost always terminal, and more than 90% of cancer deaths result from metastatic disease. Combating cancer metastasis and post-therapeutic recurrence successfully requires understanding each step of metastatic progression. This review describes the current state of knowledge of the etiology and mechanism of cancer progression from primary tumor growth to the formation of new tumors in other parts of the body. Open questions, avenues for future research, and therapeutic approaches with the potential to prevent or inhibit metastasis through personalization to each patient's mutation and/or immune profile are also highlighted.

Keywords: Cancer metastasis; Epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Extravasation; Invasion.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Neoplasms* / pathology