Cancer invasion and metastasis transform a locally growing tumour into a systematic and life-threatening disease. But how tumour cells (green in the image above) migrate between organs is still largely a black box. Friedl and colleagues have developed a tool to watch cancer cells as they move through the skin of live mice. From these experiments, they’ve found that tumour migration is remarkably “plastic”: cells adapt their transportation styles for various tissue conditions and even remodel the tissue itself to facilitate mobility.
In the image above, invading melanoma cells (green) are seen using both single-cell and collective invasion along and into tissue structures of a mouse dermis. Muscle fibres expressing GFP are orange, nerve fibres and collagen are blue (third harmonic) and grey (second harmonic) respectively. AlexaFluor660-dextran is in red.