Series |

Series on Tumour Metastasis

Metastasis accounts for more than 90% of cancer-associated mortality. Therefore, understanding the underlying complexity and dynamics of this process is critical for designing and optimizing clinical regimens for cancer patients. Nature Cell Biology presents a Series of specially commissioned Reviews that discuss emerging concepts, technical advances and therapeutic implications in this exciting field. An accompanying online library contains research articles and News & Views on this topic published in the past two years by Nature Cell Biology.

Nature Cell Biology Reviews

Editorial

Understanding the dynamics and complexity of tumour metastasis is crucial for improving clinical interventions and care for cancer patients. In this issue, we present the first of a Series of commissioned Review articles that discuss emerging concepts, technological advances and therapeutic implications in this exciting field.

Editorial | | Nature Cell Biology

Related Nature Cell Biology Research

Related Nature Cell Biology Comment

Metastatic colonization of distant organs is the prime cause of mortality from cancer, and is governed by a series of steps that include survival and growth in the perivascular niche. A study now shows that L1CAM is necessary for tight physical interactions in this niche, involving a YAP–MRTF–β1-integrin mechanotransduction pathway.

News & Views | | Nature Cell Biology

Multiple clones of cancer cells co-exist within a tumour, and yet it is not clear when these subclones arise and how they contribute to tumour progression. A multicolour clonal tracing study now shows that benign skin tumours are mostly monoclonal while the more advanced lesions are composed of multiple intermixed subclones.

News & Views | | Nature Cell Biology

The roles of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) depend on the cellular context. Paraspeckle component 1 now arises as a driver of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and stemness transcription factors to redirect effectors from tumour suppressive to pro-metastatic gene promoters, emerging as a contextual determinant of TGF-β function.

News & Views | | Nature Cell Biology

Intrinsic factors that regulate dormancy of disseminated tumour cells (DTCs) are predominantly unknown. Now, knockdown of MSK1 is shown to accelerate bone metastasis of luminal breast cancer cells. MSK1 acts through epigenetic mechanisms that enforce the luminal phenotype and promote steady-state maintenance of DTCs within bone.

News & Views | | Nature Cell Biology

Cancer cells preferentially metastasize to certain organs. A study in mouse models of breast cancer shows that the DKK1 negative regulator of WNT signalling inhibits tropism to the lung, but enhances tropism to the bone due to the differential regulation of canonical and non-canonical WNT signalling in the two microenvironments.

News & Views | | Nature Cell Biology

Little is known regarding how the interactions of stem cells with the immune system regulate their plasticity. A study now describes a mechanism by which normal breast and cancer stem cells utilize miR-199a to downregulate the corepressor LCOR and minimize responses to type I interferon.

News & Views | | Nature Cell Biology

The role of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in tumour progression remains a topic of intense debate. Now, data on the role of Zeb1 in the metastatic spread of pancreatic cancer clarify apparently conflicting views by revealing context-specific, differential use of individual epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition transcription factors in cancer cell dissemination.

News & Views | | Nature Cell Biology

Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are increasingly recognized for their role in cancer progression. The previously uncharacterized lncRNA MAYA is now shown to promote bone metastasis by bridging ROR1–HER3 and Hippo–YAP pathways. Neuregulin-induced HER3 phosphorylation by ROR1 recruits a MAYA-containing protein complex to methylate Hippo/MST1 and activate YAP target genes that are essential for bone metastasis.

News & Views | | Nature Cell Biology

Metabolic rewiring is essential for cancer cell survival. PGC1α, a transcriptional co-activator that is downregulated in prostate cancer, is now shown to control prostate cancer metabolism by activating an oxidative metabolic program that prevents tumour growth and metastatic dissemination.

News & Views | | Nature Cell Biology

The liver is the most common metastatic route of pancreatic cancer. Early recruitment of granulin-secreting inflammatory monocytes to the liver is now shown to reprogram hepatic stellate cells into myofibroblasts that modulate the liver microenvironment to support the growth of metastasizing tumour cells.

News & Views | | Nature Cell Biology