Insights into the metastatic cascade through research autopsies

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Metastasis is a complex process and the leading cause of cancer-related death globally. Recent studies have demonstrated that genomic sequencing data from paired primary and metastatic tumours can be used to trace the evolutionary origins of cells responsible for metastasis. This approach has yielded new insights into the genomic alterations that engender metastatic potential, and the mechanisms by which cancer spreads. Given that the reliability of these approaches is contingent upon how representative the samples are of primary and metastatic tumour heterogeneity, we review insights from studies that have reconstructed the evolution of metastasis within the context of their cohorts and designs. We discuss the role of research autopsies in achieving the comprehensive sampling necessary to advance the current understanding of metastasis.

Journal details

Volume 9
Issue number 6
Pages 490-502
Available online
Publication date