Frontiers in Biology

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 277–286 | Cite as

Metastatic tumor cells – genotypes and phenotypes

  • Dingcheng GaoEmail author
  • Vivek Mittal
  • Yi Ban
  • Ana Rita Lourenco
  • Shira Yomtoubian
  • Sharrell Lee



Metastasis is the primary cause of mortality in cancer patients. Therefore, elucidating the genetics and epigenetics of metastatic tumor cells and the mechanisms by which tumor cells acquire metastatic properties constitute significant challenges in cancer research.


To summarize the current understandings of the specific genotype and phenotype of the metastatic tumor cells.

Method and Result

In-depth genetic analysis of tumor cells, especially with advances in the next-generation sequencing, have revealed insights of the genotypes of metastatic tumor cells. Also, studies have shown that the cancer stem cell (CSC) and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotypes are associated with the metastatic cascade.


In this review, we will discuss recent advances in the field by focusing on the genomic instability and phenotypic dynamics of metastatic tumor cells.


metastasis epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) cancer stem cell circulating tumor cells cellular plasticity phenotype dynamics Background 


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dingcheng Gao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vivek Mittal
    • 1
  • Yi Ban
    • 1
  • Ana Rita Lourenco
    • 1
  • Shira Yomtoubian
    • 1
  • Sharrell Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Cell and Developmental BiologyNeuberger Berman Lung Cancer Center, Weill Cornell MedicineNew YorkUSA

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