Tumor Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 9, pp 8483–8523 | Cite as

Metastasis review: from bench to bedside

  • Ali Mohammad Alizadeh
  • Sadaf Shiri
  • Sadaf Farsinejad


Cancer is the final result of uninhibited cell growth that involves an enormous group of associated diseases. One major aspect of cancer is when cells attack adjacent components of the body and spread to other organs, named metastasis, which is the major cause of cancer-related mortality. In developing this process, metastatic cells must successfully negotiate a series of complex steps, including dissociation, invasion, intravasation, extravasation, and dormancy regulated by various signaling pathways. In this review, we will focus on the recent studies and collect a comprehensive encyclopedia in molecular basis of metastasis, and then we will discuss some new potential therapeutics which target the metastasis pathways. Understanding the new aspects on molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways controlling tumor cell metastasis is critical for the development of therapeutic strategies for cancer patients that would be valuable for researchers in both fields of molecular and clinical oncology.


Metastasis Review Dissociation Invasion Intravasation Extravasation 



Growth factors


Matrix metalloproteinases


Circulating tumor cells


Extracellular matrix


Reactive oxygen species


Focal adhesions


Focal adhesion kinase


Mitogen-activated protein kinase


Uroplasminogen activator receptor


Phosphatidylinositol 3


Phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase


Pronounced “sarc” as it is short for “sarcoma”


Integrin-linked kinase

PKB (known as Akt)

Protein kinase B


Glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta


Epidermal growth factor


Tumor necrosis factor alpha




Immunoglobulin superfamily


Cell adhesion molecules


Melanoma CAM


L1 protein family CAM


Neural CAM


Platelet endothelial CAM


Aplysia CAM


Intercellular CAM-1


Vascular cell CAM-1




Vascular endothelial growth factor-2


Membrane-type MMPs


Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteases


Basic fibroblast growth factor


Protransforming growth factor alpha


Protease-activated receptor




Fas-associated protein with death domain




Lipoprotein receptor-related protein


Extracellular signal-regulated kinases


Chemokine C-X-C motif ligand-5


Monocyte chemoattractant protein-3


Stromal cell-derived factor-1


A disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain-containing protein 10


Insulin-like growth factors


IGF binding protein


Capillary endothelial cells


Nuclear factor-κb


cis-2-Aminocyclohexylcarbamoyl phosphonic acid


Serine proteases


Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1


Serine proteinase inhibitors


Hepatocyte growth factor


Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3


Cathepsin D


Major histocompatibility complex


Cancer-associated fibroblasts


Tumor-associated macrophages


Phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C


Collective to amoeboid transition


Epithelial to mesenchymal transition


Mesenchymal to amoeboid transition


Colony-stimulating factor-1


Also known as TrkB tyrosine kinase or BDNF/NT-3 growth factors receptor or neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor type 2


An abbreviation of “rat sarcoma”


Tissue factor


Eph receptor A5



This study was supported by Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

Conflicts of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content of the paper.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Mohammad Alizadeh
    • 1
  • Sadaf Shiri
    • 1
  • Sadaf Farsinejad
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Research CenterTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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