Determinants of organotropic metastasis

Heath A. Smith, Yibin Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The spread of cancer from a primary tumor to distant organ sites is the most devastating aspect of malignancy. Dissemination to specific organs depends upon blood flow patterns and characteristics of the distant organ environment, such as the vascular architecture, stromal cell content, and the biochemical milieu of growth factors, signaling molecules, and metabolic substrates, which can be permissive or antagonistic to metastatic colonization. Metastatic tumor cells possess intrinsic cellular properties selected for adaptation to specific organ environments, where they co-opt growth and survival signals, undergo metabolic reprogramming, and subvert resident stromal cell activities to promote extravasation, immune evasion, angiogenesis, and overt metastatic growth. Recent work and new experimental models of metastatic organotropism are uncovering crucial details of how malignant cells metastasize to specific tissues, revealing key mediators that prepare metastatic niches in specific organs and identifying new targets that offer attractive options for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-423
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Cancer Biology
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


  • Immune suppression
  • Metabolic adaptation
  • Metastasis
  • Metastatic niche
  • Organotropism
  • Tumor-stromal interaction


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