Illuminating breast cancer invasion: Diverse roles for cell-cell interactions

Kevin J. Cheung, Andrew J. Ewald

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Metastasis begins when tumors invade into surrounding tissues. In breast cancer, the study of cell interactions has provided fundamental insights into this complex process. Powerful intravital and 3D organoid culture systems have emerged that enable biologists to model the complexity of cell interactions during cancer invasion in real-time. Recent studies utilizing these techniques reveal distinct mechanisms through which multiple cancer cell and stromal cell subpopulations interact, including paracrine signaling, direct cell-cell adhesion, and remodeling of the extracellular matrix. Three cell interaction mechanisms have emerged to explain how breast tumors become invasive: epithelial-mesenchymal transition, collective invasion, and the macrophage-tumor cell feedback loop. Future work is needed to distinguish whether these mechanisms are mutually exclusive or whether they cooperate to drive metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-111
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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