A critical step in metastasis: In vivo analysis of intravasation at the primary tumor

Jeffrey B. Wyckoff, Joan G. Jones, John S. Condeelis, Jeffrey E. Segall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

343 Scopus citations


Detailed evaluation of all steps in tumor cell metastasis is critical for evaluating the cell mechanisms controlling metastasis. Using green fluorescent protein transfectants of metastatic (MTLn3) and nonmetastatic (MTC) cell lines derived from the rat mammary adenocarcinoma 13762 NF, we have measured tumor cell density in the blood, individual tumor cells in the lungs, and lung metastases. Correlation of blood burden with lung metastases indicates that entry into the circulation is a critical step for metastasis. To examine cell behavior during intravasation, we have used green fluorescent protein technology to view these cells in time lapse images within a single optical section using a confocal microscope. In vivo imaging of the primary tumors of MTLn3 and MTC cells indicates that both metastatic and nonmetastatic cells are motile and show protrusive activity. However, metastatic cells show greater orientation toward blood vessels and larger numbers of host cells within the primary tumor, whereas nonmetastatic cells fragment when interacting with vessels. These results demonstrate that a major difference in intravasation between metastatic and nonmetastatic cells is detected in the primary tumor and illustrate the value of a direct visualization of cell properties in vivo for dissection of the metastatic process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2504-2511
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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