The first place cancer cells spread is often the lymph node that drains the site of the primary tumor. Whether these cancer cells that arrive in the lymph can spread further to organs such as the lung, liver, bone and brain—sites where the spread of cancer is often fatal—has been controversial. A study led by Dr. Ethel Pereira in the Padera Lab directly shows that metastatic cancer cells in mice can escape the lymph node by invading lymph node blood vessels to become a source of tumors that grow in distant organs. Their research was published in Science in March.
Pereira ER, Kedrin D, Seano G, Gautier O, Meijer EFJ, Jones D, Chin SM, Kitahara S, Bouta EM, Chang J, Beech E, Jeong HS, Carroll MC, Taghian AG, Padera TP. “Lymph node metastases can invade local blood vessels, exit the node and colonize distant organs in mice.” Science, 359: 1403-1407 (2018).