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Presenter: Mrs. Dr. S. Maheswaran

Cancer, initially confined to the primary site, eventually spreads to distal sites by invading into the bloodstream. These tumor cells continue to grow and evolve resulting in overt metastasis and disease recurrence, the leading causes of cancer-related deaths. The mechanisms responsible for cancer cell seeding into the blood, and their growth, evolution and recurrence are not well understood in humans due to risks associated with biopsy of these metastatic sites. However, cancer cells from both the primary and metastatic sites continue to be shed into blood. Characterizing these circulating tumor cells (CTCs) provides a non-invasive method to serially monitor tumor evolution and therapeutic responses, and key insights into the complex biology of metastasis. My main focus is on understanding breast cancer metastasis using CTCs isolated from mouse breast cancer models and human breast cancer patients. CTCs represent a breast cancer patient’s tumor composition in real time. Therefore, characterizing their biology will have tremendous potential in identifying new approaches to monitor, treat and ultimately prevent breast cancer metastasis.

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