Despite the significant progress that has been made in treating cancer, metastasis remains incurable. Metastasis accounts for 8 million deaths per year worldwide, and no agents are currently available to prevent the metastatic spread of cancer. The metastatic process begins with cancer cells leaving the primary tumour site and entering the blood circulation. When in circulation, cancer cells are defined as circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and are typically found as single CTCs or small CTC aggregates (CTC clusters). Upon dissemination and survival into distant organs, cancer cells give rise to proliferating metastatic lesions, which can shed other CTCs and form additional metastases. While virtually all oncology-related drugs aim to kill cancer cells within a tumour, no drugs are available to target metastatic cells in circulation. Consequently, no drugs are known to block or prevent the metastatic cascade.
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