Cancer Cell Metastasis and How Cells Diffuse Into Diverse Parts of the Body

Essay by JimmA16University, Bachelor's February 2005

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Cancer is coined as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that have mutated from normal tissues. This growth is known to kill when these cells spread throughout the body and prevent normal function of vital organs. These cells are able to develop in almost any organ, fluid, or tissue within the body. Each organ within the body consists of specialized cells that carry out specific functions, such as transportation of nutrients, oxygen, waste materials, and so on. These cells, in order for the organ to function properly, must be replaced when resources within the cell have been worn out. An internal feedback system controls cell division by balancing the number of old and dying cells against the progeny of the stem cells (Columbia). It was recently shown that unattached cells in tissues, are growth inhibited due to a nuclear protein called E-CDK2 (Scientists). This complex regulates the growth and division of cells that become less active.

Cellular suicide is considered imperative in maintaining healthy tissues. Cancer cells do not have to anchor to extracellular matrices, as normal cells do for survival, thus allowing this E-CDK2 complex to stay active whether the cells are attached or not. It is known that cancer cells not always grow faster than normal cells, but they survive longer or divide more times during their lifetime. Consequently, cancer cells accumulate, and compete with normal healthy tissues for nutrients as well as intrude the space and territory of other cells.

These particular cells are able to spread to different parts of the body through different mechanisms. The process that refers to the spread of cancer from its original site to other areas of the body is called metastasis. The unique function of cancer cells is its ability to invade blood vessels and find its way into the...