Metastasis and Invasion

Why we focus on metastasis and invasion

The majority of cancer deaths are attributable to invasion and metastasis. Metastasis is the spread of disease from one organ or part to another not directly connected with the primary site; the defining characteristic of a malignant neoplasm. How this spread is achieved is important for understanding neoplastic disease. Characterisation of the molecules driving tumour dissemination may provide possible ways to block the process while, if secondary deposits continue to express the gene products which facilitated their dissemination, such products could also serve as potential therapeutic targets.

What we do
  • We investigate epithelial-stromal interactions in  breast cancer.
  • We study adhesion and integrins, specifically αvβ6-mediated carcinoma cell invasion.
  • We investigate angiogenesis and the access of disseminating tumour cells into leaky new blood vessels.
  • We study cell signalling and ligand receptor interactions that modulate invasive and/or metastatic behaviour.
  • In pancreatic cancer, we focus on stellate cell epithelial cell interactions, and the proteomic analysis of primary and secondary deposits.
Major Funders
  • Worldwide Cancer Research
  • Breast Cancer Now
  • British Lung Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • DebRA
  • Medical Research Council
  • Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund
Key Publications

Image credit: Colon cancer cells. Lorna McInroyCC BY