Self-Seeding in Cancer

  • Elizabeth Comen
  • Larry Norton
Part of the Recent Results in Cancer Research book series (RECENTCANCER, volume 195)


Despite significant progress in our understanding and treatment of metastatic cancer, nearly all metastatic cancers are incurable. In this Review, we use breast cancer as a model to highlight the limitations and inconsistencies of our existing treatment paradigms for metastatic disease. In turn, we offer a new theory of metastasis, termed “self-seeding. ” The self-seeding paradigm, well validated in mathematical, experimental and animal models, challenges the notion that cancers cells that leave a primary tumor cell, unidirectionally seed metastases in regional lymph nodes and/or distant sites. In contrast, there is mounting evidence that circulating tumor cells can move multi-directionally, seeding not only distant sites but also their tumors of origin. Here, we show that the self-seeding model may answer many of the quandaries intrinsic to understanding how cancer spreads and ultimately kills. Indeed, redirecting our research and treatment efforts within the self-seeding model may offer new possibilities for eradicating metastatic cancer.


Breast Cancer Breast Cancer Risk Circulate Tumor Cell Primary Breast Tumor Mammographic Breast Density 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA

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