During development, the cells of an embryo change their pattern of gene expression, which allows them to detach from their original location and migrate to another part of the embryo, where the pattern changes again to allow formation of a new organ. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) may behave in a similar way, changing their gene expression to either grow rapidly and generate the tumor mass, or stop growing and traverse the bloodstream unharmed by its sheering forces. This new idea may help explain conflicting observations in the field.

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