The most dreadful point in the progression of neoplasia is invasion and dissemination beyond the original limits of tumor, since most deaths from cancer are due to metastases.1,2 Metastasis refers to the spread of neoplastic cells from the primary cancer site to other areas of the body. Metastases develop after malignant cells gain phenotypic characteristics that facilitate access to lymphatic channels and blood vessels. Once they outgrow local defense mechanisms in the distant organs, they establish a new phase of independent neoplastic proliferation.3 The survival of a patient with metastatic disease depends on the extent and size of the dissemination and which vital organs are affected. This chapter provides a brief review of the basic mechanisms associated with invasion and metastasis.
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