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CRC disseminates using collective migration

ESMO 2020
Collective migration of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells with hallmarks of amoeboid migration is a newly identified way cancer clusters can move when confronted with non-adhesive interfaces.

Prior research has shown CRC is able to form large clusters of cancer epithelial cells displaying a robust outward apical pole, termed tumour spheres with inverted polarity (TSIPs), that can be found in the peritoneal cavity of metastatic patients [1]. Furthermore, these collective structures can also be found in the primary tumour.

Now, it is demonstrated that these TSIPs are able to move, independently of the formation of focal adhesions or protruding leader cells [2]. Their migration speed ranged between 70 to 150 μm/day, in line with observed cancer spread in vivo. These clusters of CRC cells use a new mode of collective migration presenting the hallmarks of amoeboid migration and therefore named collective amoeboid migration. This mode could be use by other cancer clusters when confronted with non-adhesive interfaces like the lumen of lymphatic vessels.

This work suggests that therapies targeting adhesive properties of cancer cells might be unsuccessful and unravels a new therapeutic avenue to limit the metastatic spread of CRCs.

    1. Zajac O, et al. Nat Cell Biol 2018; 20: 296-306.
    2. Dornier E, et al. A study of cancer dissemination from metastatic intermediates of hypermethylated colorectal patients reveals a new mode of collective migration. ESMO 2020 Virtual Meeting, abstract 1O.

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