Cancer Metastasis

Metastasis is a complex, multistep process responsible for >90% of cancer-related deaths. In addition to genetic and external environmental factors, the physical interactions of cancer cells with their microenvironment, as well as their modulation by mechanical forces, are key determinants of the metastatic process. We reconstruct the metastatic process and describe the importance of key physical and mechanical processes at each step of the cascade. The emerging insight into these physical interactions may help to solve some long-standing questions in disease progression and may lead to new approaches to developing cancer diagnostics and therapies.


Wirtz, D., K. Konstantopoulos, et al.  The physics of cancer: the role of physical interactions and mechanical forces in metastasis. Nature Reviews Cancer 11(7): 512-522. (2011).

Wong, C. C. L., D. M. Gilkes, et al.  Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 is a master regulator of breast cancer metastatic niche formation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(39): 16369-16374. (2011).

Dallas, M. R., G. S. Liu, et al.  Divergent roles of CD44 and carcinoembryonic antigen in colon cancer metastasis. Faseb Journal 26(6): 2648-2656. (2012).

Gilkes, D. M., S. Bajpai, et al. Procollagen Lysyl Hydroxylase 2 Is Essential for Hypoxia-Induced Breast Cancer Metastasis.” Cancer Research 11(5): 456-466. (2013).

Gilkes, D. M., P. Chaturvedi, et al. Collagen Prolyl Hydroxylases Are Essential for Breast Cancer Metastasis. Cancer Research 73(11): 3285-3296.  (2013).