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Clusters of cancer cells move single file.

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In narrow blood vessels, tumor cells go marching one by one.

By unfolding into a cellular chain, clusters of cancer cells can slide through capillary tubes less than 10 micrometers wide, Sam Au of Harvard Medical School and colleagues report in the May 3 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The cells pass through the tubes in single file, each squeezing into an oblong shape and clinging to a neighbor or two (as shown with the human breast cancer cells, bright red, above). After arriving in roomier quarters, the cells regroup into round clumps, the scientists report.

Cancer cell clumps that break off tumors and travel through the blood spread cancer more efficiently than single cells. But many scientists thought the clusters were unable to squeeze through the narrowest blood vessels.

In experiments, breast and prostate cancer cells used this single file strategy to travel through lab-made tubes, tubes lined with human cells, and blood vessels of live zebrafish.

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Title Annotation:GENES & CELLS
Author:Schwatz, Sarah
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Date:May 28, 2016
Words:162
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