It is now apparent that cancer cells not only change their local tissue environment, but also a primary tumour can remotely perturb distant tissue creating a more permissive environment for disseminating cancer cells. Indeed, malignant tumours have been reported to secrete factors leading to changes in cellular composition within distant organs, potentially influencing the fate of metastatic cells.

Metastatic lung neutrophils

The changes within the distant tissues occurring before cancer cell arrival which support their early survival and growth, constitute the pre-metastatic niche.

We have contributed to define the role of neutrophils, the mobilization of which represents one of the dominant pre-metastatic changes in metastatic breast cancer.

We are continuing to investigate the systemic changes induced in neutrophils by different epithelial tumours and the implication for the “pre-metastatic niche” as well as their impact on the subsequent “metastatic niche” caused by the local tissue response to cancer cells infiltration.

Figure: pulmonary metastasis (arrow) showing infiltration of lung neutrophils (S100A9 stain, brown) highly present in the surrounding tissue.