Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab


  • Michael Z. Gilcrease
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_3133-2



Is a process in malignant cells consisting of penetration of and movement through surrounding tissues.


Following an initial period of cell proliferation at the tissue site of origin, malignant cells acquire the capacity to undergo invasion of the surrounding tissues. Some malignant neoplasms undergo extensive local invasion without metastasizing, but invasion is a prerequisite for the development of metastasis.

Although the process is not the same for all types of malignancies, the invasion of epithelial-derived malignant cells (the most common type) involves the following steps (Fig. 1):
  • Detachment from adjacent cells and underlying basement membrane

  • Disruption and degradation of surrounding matrix

  • Adhesion to surrounding matrix components

  • Migration through the adjacent tissue


Tumor Cell Invasion Adhesion Complex Connective Tissue Matrix Surrounding Connective Tissue Connective Tissue Component 
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 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathology, Breast SectionM. D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA