Peter Friedl (University of Wuerzburg, Germany) and colleagues report in the January 20 issue of The Journal of Cell Biology that cancer cells moving through a protein matrix leave a path of destruction behind them. But when that destruction is prevented, the cells still move at a rapid rate by reverting to a more rounded, ameboid shape that is distorted as the cells squeeze through any available gaps.
This type of migration could serve as a "salvage" pathway, allowing tumor cells to take a step backward in evolutionary time to continue migrating in the presence of inhibitors. Drugs that attack both migration pathways should have a better chance of being effective against the spread of cancer.
Contact: Lynette Henry
Journal of Experimental Medicine