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Fig. 1 | Cell & Bioscience

Fig. 1

From: The roles of microRNAs in the regulation of tumor metastasis

Fig. 1

The roles of microRNAs in the regulation of tumor metastasis. Tumor metastasis is a complex process that is composed of multiple steps. To disseminate to distant sites, tumor cells detach from their primary sites by local migration, invasion and penetration of the stromal cell layers. For blood vessel-borne metastasis, disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) intravasate into blood vessels and survive in the circulation. After they arrive at distant organ sites, DTCs must extravasate from the blood and adapt to the new tissue microenvironments, where only a few DTCs form micrometastases. Finally, only a small subset of micrometastases eventually becomes detectable macrometastases. During this metastatic cascade, miRNAs can regulate the expression of multiple target genes and can modulate multiple tumor cell phenotypes, such as motility, invasion, intravasation, resistance to anoikis, extravasation and metastatic colonization as well as epithelial-mesenchymal transition, cell stemness, dormancy and the tumor microenvironment. miRNAs may act as positive regulators (purple) or negative regulators (blue) in the regulation of tumor metastasis. ECM, extracellular matrix; CSC, cancer stem cell

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