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Discover Metastasis and Cancer Stem Cells

April 11, 2022
Est. Reading: 3 minutes

Metastasis and Cancer Cells

Cancer cells are cells that have undergone a malignant transformation. It means they have acquired the ability to grow uncontrollably and invade other tissues in the body. They can spread (metastasize) to different body parts through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.


Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. The main types of cancer are:

  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Skin cancer (melanoma)

Cancer cells exhibit uncontrolled growth, can invade other tissues, and have the potential to metastasize to different body parts. Cancerous cells are cells gone wrong, in other words. They no longer respond to many signals that control cellular growth and death, as described in the Krebs Cycle. Cancer cells originate within tissues; as they grow and divide, they change even further from average. Over time, these cells become increasingly resistant to the controls that maintain normal tissue. As a result, they divide more rapidly than their progenitors and become less dependent on signals from other cells.

Recently, a new therapy has shown great success in treating multiple types of cancer. Learn more about this cancer cell treatment.


Metastasis is the process by which cancer cells spread from the site of origin to other parts of the body. It occurs through local invasion and the ability to enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system and travel to distant sites. Cancerous cells that have metastasized are often more aggressive and challenging to treat than those that remain at the site of origin.

There are many types of cancer, each with its characteristics. However, all cancer cells share specific properties that allow them to grow uncontrollably and spread throughout the body. Cancer is a complex disease that requires a multimodal approach to treatment. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are the most common treatments for cancer.

cancer cells

Cancerous cells have several properties that contribute to their ability to metastasize:

  • The ability to invade nearby tissues
  • The ability to enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system
  • The ability to survive in a new environment

Once cancer cells have metastasized, they can grow into new tumors at distant sites. This process is responsible for the majority of cancer-related deaths.

Metastasis means "new place". It is considered one of the terminal stages of cancer.

Abstract metastases, rather than primary tumors, are responsible for most cancer deaths. In this stage, cancerous cells enter the bloodstream or the lymphatic system and travel to a new location(s), where they feed and divide, laying the foundation for secondary tumors. Not all cancerous cells can metastasize. For cells to spread in this manner, they must possess the ability to penetrate the body's usual barriers, allowing them to enter and exit the blood or lymph vessels. It is typically referred to as cancer stem cells.

 Read: The CC Formula on Metastasized Prostate Cancer

The Cancer Stem Cells

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a type of cell that can give rise to new tumors. Theory suggests that only a small subset of cells within a cancer can metastasize. Researchers believe that CSCs are more resistant to therapy and are more likely to give rise to new tumors.

This theory finds support in cases where therapy may destroy all cancerous cells in a tumor, yet the cancer persists due to the presence of CSCs.

stem cells

Researchers consider CSCs to be more resistant to therapy and more likely to give rise to new tumors. Researchers began studying the properties of CSCs in the 1990s, gaining traction for the concept first proposed in the 1950s.

While some circles still debate the existence of CSCs, the bulk of evidence indicates that they play a role in tumor growth, metastasis, and recurrence. Although the exact number of CSCs in a given tumor is unknown, they may be few. In some cases, only a single cell may be responsible for the growth of a cancer.

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