Mortality and morbidity in patients with solid tumors invariably result from the disruption of normal biological function caused by disseminating tumor cells. Tumor cell migration is under intense investigation as the underlying cause of cancer metastasis. The need for tumor cell motility in the progression of metastasis has been established experimentally and is supported empirically by basic and clinical research implicating a large collection of migration-related genes. However, there are few clinical interventions designed to specifically target the motility of tumor cells and adjuvant therapy to specifically prevent cancer cell dissemination is severely limited. In an attempt to define motility targets suitable for treating metastasis, we have parsed the molecular determinants of tumor cell motility into five underlying principles including cell autonomous ability, soluble communication, cell-cell adhesion, cell-matrix adhesion, and integrating these determinants of migration on molecular scaffolds. The current challenge is to implement meaningful and sustainable inhibition of metastasis by developing clinically viable disruption of molecular targets that control these fundamental capabilities.
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