Cancer cells invade local tissue and spread to distant sites via two distinct, but similar processes known as invasion and metastasis.
Some cancer cells adapt mechanisms to evade detection and destruction by the host's immune system. One way cells do this is by hijacking normal mechanisms of immune checkpoint control and modulation of the innate immune response via STING.
The process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), whereby differentiated epithelial cells transform into cells with more mesenchymal characteristics, was first described by pioneering Harvard biologist Elizabeth “Betty” Hay in the 1980s.
Cellular senescence is defined by permanent cell cycle arrest. Senescent cells accumulate with age and contribute to the normal aging process as well as age-related disorders. The link between senescence, aging, and age-related pathologies, including cancer, neurodegeneration, and metabolic and cardiovascular diseases have largely fueled the senescence research field.
Topics: Cell Biology
Cancer cells resist inhibitory signals that might otherwise stop their growth. The major pathways involved are Autophagy and Death Receptor Signaling (Apoptosis), both of which can ultimately lead to cell death, and reduction in tumor growth.
Cancer cells can revert to a pre-differentiated, stem-cell-like phenotype, allowing uninhibited cellular division and other metabolic adaptations that enable survival in adverse conditions.
Cancer cells stimulate their own growth, which means they become self-sufficient in growth signals, and no longer depend on external signals (like Epidermal Growth Factor EGF/ EGFR). Proliferation depends highly on these three important pathways: Akt, MAPK/Erk, and MTOR.
Molecular oxygen (O2) is an essential element for metazoan life. Among its many roles, O2 functions as the final electron acceptor (oxidizing agent) during oxidative phosphorylation, a metabolic chain-reaction that generates energy in the form of ATP.
Cancer cells stimulate the growth of blood vessels to supply nutrients to tumors. Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing blood vessels. This plays an important role in tumor growth.
Over the last 50 years laboratories have been able to demonstrate through experimentation the processes contributing to cell death. Early discoveries focused on morphological features of cell death and classifications into apoptosis and necrosis. Since then, there have been many more discoveries regarding the programmed cellular pathways contributing to apoptosis.
Topics: Cell Biology