Subclonal cooperation rewrites metastasis

Different subclones cooperate to support tumour heterogeneity and growth, but the effect on metastasis is unclear. A new study now shows that, as non-cell-autonomous drivers, minor cancer cell subclones instigate growth at distant sites of otherwise non-metastatic cancer cells. This is mediated systemically by perturbation in the metastatic tissue.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Polyclonal tumours containing the IL11-expressing subclone gain metastatic potential.


  1. 1.

    Caswell, D. R. & Swanton, C. BMC Med. 15, 133 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Cleary, A. S., Leonard, T. L., Gestl, S. A. & Gunther, E. J. Nature 508, 113–117 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Calbo, J. et al. Cancer Cell 19, 244–256 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Tabassum, D. P. & Polyak, K. Nat. Rev. Cancer 15, 473–483 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Marusyk, A. et al. Nature 514, 54–58 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Janiszewska, M. et al. Nat. Cell Biol. (2019).

  7. 7.

    Coffelt, S. B., Wellenstein, M. D. & de Visser, K. E. Nat. Rev. Cancer 16, 431–446 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Wculek, S. K. & Malanchi, I. Nature 528, 413–417 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Johnstone, C. N., Chand, A., Putoczki, T. L. & Ernst, M. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 26, 489–498 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ilaria Malanchi.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ombrato, L., Malanchi, I. Subclonal cooperation rewrites metastasis. Nat Cell Biol 21, 797–798 (2019).

Download citation


Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing