Mechanisms of Organ-Specific Metastasis of Breast Cancer

Emma Nolan, Yibin Kang, Ilaria Malanchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cancer metastasis, or the development of secondary tumors in distant tissues, accounts for the vast majority of fatalities in patients with breast cancer. Breast cancer cells show a striking proclivity to metastasize to distinct organs, specifically the lung, liver, bone, and brain, where they face unique environmental pressures and a wide variety of tissue-resident cells that together create a strong barrier for tumor survival and growth. As a consequence, successful metastatic colonization is critically dependent on reciprocal cross talk between cancer cells and host cells within the target organ, a relationship that shapes the formation of a tumor-supportive microenvironment. Here, we discuss the mechanisms governing organ-specific metastasis in breast cancer, focusing on the intricate interactions between metastatic cells and specific niche cells within a secondary organ, and the remarkable adaptations of both com-partments that cooperatively support cancer growth. More broadly, we aim to provide a framework for the microenvironmental prerequisites within each distinct metastatic site for successful breast cancer metastatic seeding and outgrowth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera041326
JournalCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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