Cell Migration pp 195-211 | Cite as

Using the Zebrafish Embryo to Dissect the Early Steps of the Metastasis Cascade

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1749)


Most cancers end up with the death of patients caused by the formation of secondary tumors, called metastases. However, how these secondary tumors appear and develop is only poorly understood. A fine understanding of the multiple steps of the metastasis cascade requires in vivo models allowing high spatiotemporal analysis of the behavior of metastatic cells. Zebrafish embryos combine several advantages such as transparency, small size, stereotyped anatomy, and easy handling, making it a very powerful model for cell and cancer biology, and in vivo imaging analysis. In the following chapter, we describe a complete procedure allowing in vivo imaging methods, at high throughput and spatiotemporal resolution, to assess the behavior of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in an experimental metastasis assay. This protocol provides access, for the first time, to the earliest steps of tumor cell seeding during metastasis formation.

Key words

Zebrafish Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) Metastasis Injection Live imaging 



We thank all members of the Goetz Lab for helpful discussions throughout the development of this technology. We are grateful to Sofia AZEVEDO and Nina FEKONJA for their help in various aspects of this method. We are very much grateful to Francesca PERI (EMBL) and Kerstin RICHTER (EMBL) for providing zebrafish embryos. This work has been funded by Plan Cancer (OptoMetaTrap, to J.G. and S.H) and CNRS IMAG’IN (to S.H., J.G., and C.P.) and by institutional funds from INSERM and University of Strasbourg. G.F. is supported by La Ligue Contre le Cancer. N.O is supported by Plan Cancer. G.A. was supported by FRM (Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INSERM UMR_S1109, Tumor BiomechanicsInstitut d’Hématologie et d’ImmunologieStrasbourg CedexFrance
  2. 2.Université de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  3. 3.LabEx MedalisUniversité de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  4. 4.Fédération de Médecine Translationnelle de Strasbourg (FMTS)StrasbourgFrance
  5. 5.Centre de Biologie du DéveloppementUMR 5547 CNRS/Université Paul SabatierToulouseFrance
  6. 6.IPCMS, UMR7504StrasbourgFrance
  7. 7.LabEx NIEUniversité de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance

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