Cell biology of cancer cells.
Experimental observation of cancer cells gives us an insight into how cancer cells behave in people.
Much of what we know about the biology and behavior of malignant tumors comes from in vitro studies.
Cancer cells show loss of contact inhibition, break away from their neighbors, and grow in isolated colonies.
Cancer cells move faster than normal cells and clear a pathway for their journey. They use filopodia (invadopodia) for legs. These filopodia have cytoskeletal intermediate filaments that coordinate the movement.
They secrete destructive enzymes that break down basement membranes and clear a path through connective tissue.
Cancer cells have surface receptors that help them cling to connective tissue fibrils and help them anchor to a scaffolding of connective tissue.
Some cancer cells can survive forever in suitable culture. HeLa cells are derived from a patient who had a fatal cancer of the cervix, in the 1950s. These cells are alive and growing in many research laboratories all over the world.
Scientists can quantify the signals given off by genes. Some of these have prognostic implications. Some cancers produce gene profiles and footprints that segregate different groups of cancer patients into different prognostic groups.
The same chip technology (molecular biology technology) is used to reclassify some cancers. This has been particularly successful with leukemias.
These techniques will influence clinical practice. They can be applied to blood or fresh biopsy tissue.
These concepts are developed in the tutorial.
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