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Issue 6, 2012
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Endothelial cell's biomechanical properties are regulated by invasive cancer cells

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Most cancer-related deaths are caused by the ability of cancer cells to metastasize. This process includes the dissemination of cancer cells from the primary tumor side and their migration to targeted organ sites. During the migration of cancer cells through the connective tissue microenvironment, which consists of endothelial cells and extracellular matrix components, biomechanical properties are crucial for the efficiency and speed of cancer cell invasion and subsequently, metastases formation. Biomechanics can enable cancer cells to migrate through tissue, transmigrate through basement membranes as well as endothelial monolayers and form metastases in targeted organs. The current focus of cancer research still lies on the investigation of cancer cell's biochemical and molecular capabilities such as molecular genetics and gene signaling, but these approaches ignore the mechanical nature of the invasion process of cancer cells. Moreover, even the role of the endothelium during the transmigration and invasion of cells is not clear, it has been seen as a passive barrier, but this could not explain all novel findings. This review discusses how cancer cells alter the structural, biochemical and mechanical properties of the endothelium to regulate their own invasiveness through extracellular matrices and hence, through the tissue microenvironment. Finally, this review sheds light on the mechanical properties of cancer cells and the interacting endothelium and points out the importance of the mechanical properties as a critical determinant for the efficiency of cancer cell invasion and the overall progression of cancer. In conclusion, the regulation of the endothelial cell's biomechanical properties by cancer cells is a critical determinant of cancer cell invasiveness and may affect the future development of new cancer treatments.

Graphical abstract: Endothelial cell's biomechanical properties are regulated by invasive cancer cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Jan 2012, accepted on 22 Mar 2012 and first published on 13 Apr 2012

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2MB25024A
Citation: Mol. BioSyst., 2012,8, 1639-1649
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    Endothelial cell's biomechanical properties are regulated by invasive cancer cells

    C. T. Mierke, Mol. BioSyst., 2012, 8, 1639
    DOI: 10.1039/C2MB25024A

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