Editors' ChoiceCancer Biology

Modeling Metastasis in Drosophila

Science's STKE  18 Nov 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 209, pp. tw448-TW448
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2092003TW448

The majority of cancer-related deaths are caused by metastasis--the spread of secondary tumors from the primary tumor. Pagliarini and Xu developed a genetic screen in Drosophila for mutations that can cause metastatic behavior in otherwise noninvasive tumors created through expression of oncogenic Ras. Metastasis in the Drosophila model system displayed many characteristic features seen in the mammalian phenomenon, including basement-membrane degradation, loss of E-cadherin, and the induction of cell invasion. Oncogenic Ras played an important role in driving invasion and metastasis, because mutations that caused loss of cell polarity alone did not promote metastatic behavior on its own or in combination with various other oncogenes.

R. A. Pagliarini, T. Xu, A genetic screen in Drosophila for metastatic behavior. Science 302, 1227-1231 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]