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Cancer Cells Seize Signaling Pathway Used by Neurons to Metastasize

Metastasis is responsible for the great majority of deaths in cancer patients. There are three primary ways tumors metastasize to other organs: through the circulatory system, through the lymphatic system, and through the body wall into the abdominal and chest cavities. By using mouse models of lung and breast cancer, researchers at Rockefeller University discovered that cancer cells enlist nearby blood vessels to gain access to a signaling pathway used by neurons, allowing them to escape into the bloodstream and metastasize.

Their findings, “Tumoral activation of TLR3–SLIT2 axis in endothelium drives metastasis,” is published in Nature and led by Sohail Tavazoie MD, PhD, the Leon Hess professor at Rockefeller University.

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