Courtesy of Media Services, Yale School of Medicine

Left, a stained section of spontaneous lung metastasis showing normal lung tissue adjacent to melanoma tissue. Arrows delineate melanoma composed predominantly of melanin-containing cells. Right, cultured cells from spontaneous lung metastasis.
Metastasis, the spread of cancer cells from primary tumor to new sites, often prevents successful cancer treatment. But how or why certain cells detach from a tumor, travel to distant locations in the body, and establish a new tumor is still unclear. "We are talking about a couple of cells out of millions, but that is all it takes [to successfully create a secondary tumor]," explains Vincent Hearing, chief of the pigment cell biology section, National Cancer Institute.

John Pawelek, senior research scientist in dermatology at Yale University, and colleagues report this month on a mechanism that may initiate melanoma metastasis.1 They provide the first direct evidence that...

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