Metastatic tumors are started by cancer cells that come from a tumor somewhere else in the body.

Metastatic Disease Metastatic tumors are started by cancer cells that come from a tumor somewhere else in the body. The cancer cells break away from the original or primary tumor and travel in the blood to other parts of the body. The cells get stuck someplace like the liver, lungs, bones or brain and grow into a tumor called a metastatic. The metastatic tumor is named for the tissue or organ that the cancer cells spread from. For example, lung cancer that spread to the brain and forms a tumor there is called metastatic lung cancer to the brain.

Cancers that commonly spread to the brain, liver, bones or lungs are:

  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Renal cancer
  • Gynecological cancer

The difference between a primary tumor and metastatic tumor is that a primary tumor is one that started in the tissue or organ where it is found. Primary bone tumors are much less common than metastatic tumors in bones. Primary bone tumors are caused by abnormal bone cells that grow and divide without control. The growing cells form a tumor in the bone that gets bigger as the cells continue to multiply.