Metastasis signatures: Genes regulating tumor-microenvironment interactions predict metastatic behavior

Adriana Albini, Valentina Mirisola, Ulrich Pfeffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The possibility of predicting clinical outcome of cancer patients through the analysis of gene expression profiles in the primary tumor is a kind of ideological revolution as the multistep carcinogenesis model postulates that the proportion of cells within the primary tumor that actually acquire metastasis driving mutation(s) is small; too small to leave its imprint on the gene expression profile. The data collected to date have brought a new paradigm to reality in the metastasis field: metastasis must at least in part rely on mutations and/or gene regulation events present in the majority of cells which constitute the primary tumor mass. By analyses of differential expression of primary tumors versus metastases or by functional analyses of putative metastasis genes in experimental metastasis, many metastasis-associated gene expression events have been identified that correlate with the development of metastases. Among genes "favoring" metastasis, we find many molecules that are expressed not by the tumor cell itself but by the cells of the microenvironment, as well as genes over-expressed in the primary tumor that have a principle role in mediating tumor-host interactions. Here we review these concepts and advance hypotheses on how gene expression of the primary tumor and the microenvironment can favor the spread of the metastasis seeds and how this knowledge can provide tools to secondary prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Angioprevention
  • Gene expression
  • Metastasis signatures
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Metastasis signatures: Genes regulating tumor-microenvironment interactions predict metastatic behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this