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R.E. Mansel et al. (eds.), Metastasis of Breast Cancer, 171-202. © 2007 Springer.

early development of tumours. Beyond the classical cell-matrix interactions (as already discussed in chapter 4), cytokines and growth factors produced by stromal cells are vital to the development of metastasis. Stromal cells, mainly fibroblasts in mammary tumours, produce a rich array of cytokines. One of the most documented stromal-derived factors is a cytokine known as hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). HGF plays a plethora of roles in tumour growth and metastasis. This cytokine demonstrates the ability to stimulate proliferation, dissociation, migration, and invasion in a wide variety of tumour cells, and is also a potent angio-genic and lymphangiogenic factor. The investigation of HGF, and the factors that govern the influence of HGF, may therefore lead to exciting new strategies to combat the metastatic spread of tumours.

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