Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Metastatic Colonization

  • Russell SzmulewitzEmail author
  • Jennifer Taylor
  • Carrie Rinker-Schaffer
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_3676-2



The term metastatic colonization refers to the final biological events required for cancer cells to form a clinically relevant metastasis at a secondary cancer site(s). It is a distinct process in which disseminated cells survive and subsequently proliferate to form overt metastases within this site.


In order to successfully form overt metastases in a secondary organ/site, cancer cells must successfully complete all the steps of the metastatic process, as summarized in Fig. 1. A cancer cell must first survive, grow, and eventually break free from its primary cancer site. Figure 1shows a single layer of cells upon a basement membrane (thick gray line), with a single tumorigenic cell. During progressive growth, tumor cells can acquire malignant properties which enable them to invade through the basement membrane and escape the primary site. Cells must then move to a discontinuous secondary...


Prostate Cancer Secondary Site Prostate Cancer Metastasis Metastatic Colonization Primary Cancer Site 
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See Also

  1. (2012) Basement Membrane. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of Cancer, 3rd edn. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, p 349. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_537Google Scholar
  2. (2012) Microenvironment. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of Cancer, 3rd edn. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, p 2296. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_3720Google Scholar
  3. (2012) Primary Cancer Site. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of Cancer, 3rd edn. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, p 2985. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_4732Google Scholar
  4. (2012) Secondary Cancer Site. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of Cancer, 3rd edn. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, p 3347. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_5199Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell Szmulewitz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jennifer Taylor
    • 2
  • Carrie Rinker-Schaffer
    • 3
  1. 1.The University of Chicago MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Committee on Cancer BiologyThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Surgery, Section of UrologyThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA