Clinical & Experimental Metastasis

, Volume 35, Issue 8, pp 715–725 | Cite as

Transparent reporting of experimental parameters in assays measuring phenotypic steps in metastasis

  • Robin Boiy
  • Jonas Steenbrugge
  • Jan Van Deun
  • An Hendrix
  • Evelyne Meyer
  • Olivier De WeverEmail author
Technical Note


Metastasis is key to cancer mortality. Understanding its biology is vital for developing strategies to prevent and treat metastasis. Phenotypic assays to either study metastasis or evaluate anti-metastatic drugs are widely used in preclinical research. This technical note discusses the adherence of reporting essential experimental and methodological parameters in chemotactic invasion assays in vitro and spontaneous metastasis assays in vivo. Following the analysis of 130 recent (< 5 years) research papers, several shortcomings in reporting were identified. Therefore, we strongly argue to increase experimental rigor which should result in a significant improvement with respect to reproducibility of preclinical metastasis research.


Reproducibility Chemotactic invasion Methodological rigor Spontaneous metastasis assay Benchmarking Minimal information guidelines 



This research was supported by Research Council of Ghent University (BOF) and Grants from “Kom op tegen Kanker”, “Stichting tegen Kanker”, and Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Boiy
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jonas Steenbrugge
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jan Van Deun
    • 1
    • 3
  • An Hendrix
    • 1
    • 3
  • Evelyne Meyer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Olivier De Wever
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research, Department of Human Structure and RepairGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineGhent UniversityMerelbekeBelgium
  3. 3.Cancer Research Institute Ghent (CRIG)GhentBelgium

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