Metastases are the major cause of cancer patients' mortality and can occur years and even decades following apparently successful treatment of the primary tumor. Early dissemination of cancer cells, followed by a protracted period of dormancy at distant sites, has been recently recognized as the clinical explanation for this very-long latency. The mechanisms that govern tumor dormancy at distant sites and their reactivation to proliferating metastases are just beginning to be unraveled. Tumor cells, that survive the immune surveillance and hemodynamic forces along their journey in the circulation and successfully colonize and adopt to the new and "hostile" microenvironment and survive in a quiescent dormant state for years before emerging to proliferative state, must display high plasticity. Here we will discuss whether the plasticity of dormant tumor cells is required for their long-term survival and outgrowth. Specifically, we will focus on whether epithelial mesenchymal transition and acquisition of stem-like properties can dictate their quiescent and or their proliferative fate. Deeper understanding of these intertwining processes may facilitate in the future the development of novel therapies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a Research Career Development Award from the Israel Cancer Research Fund and by the Israel Cancer Association Fund.
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- Cancer recurrence
- Cancer stem cells
- Disseminated tumor cells
- Epithelial mesenchymal transition
- Mesenchymal epithelial transition
- Tumor dormancy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research