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J. Clin. Med. 2013, 2(3), 136-150; doi:10.3390/jcm2030136

Mechanisms of Metastatic Tumor Dormancy

Department of Urology, University of Michigan Medical School, 5111 CCGC1500 E. Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0940, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 July 2013 / Revised: 20 August 2013 / Accepted: 10 September 2013 / Published: 23 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prevention and Treatment of Bone Metastases from Breast Cancer)
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Tumor metastasis can occur years after an apparent cure due to a phenomenon known as metastatic tumor dormancy; in which tumor masses or individual tumor cells are growth restricted for extended periods of time. This period of dormancy is induced and maintained by several mechanisms, including: (1) Tumor microenvironment factors such as cytokine expression, immunosurveillance and angiogenesis; (2) Metastasis suppressor gene activity; and (3) Cancer therapeutics. Disseminated tumor cells (DTC) are the key cells that result in dormant tumors. However, many challenges exist towards isolating DTCs for mechanistic studies. The main DTC that may represent the dormant cell is the cancer stem cells (CSC) as they have a slow proliferation rate. In addition to limited knowledge regarding induction of tumor dormancy, there are large gaps in knowledge regarding how tumors escape from dormancy. Emerging research into cancer stem cells, immunotherapy, and metastasis suppressor genes, may lead to new approaches for targeted anti-metastatic therapy to prevent dormancy escape. Overall, an enhanced understanding of tumor dormancy is critical for better targeting and treatment of patients to prevent cancer recurrence.
Keywords: dormancy; tumor mass dormancy; tumor cell dormancy dormancy; tumor mass dormancy; tumor cell dormancy

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Osisami, M.; Keller, E.T. Mechanisms of Metastatic Tumor Dormancy. J. Clin. Med. 2013, 2, 136-150.

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