The lymphatic system is an important pathway for metastasis of breast cancer; however, why involvement of lymphatic system with cancer signifies an aggressive disease remains an open question. Thus far, the lymphatic vasculature has been thought to contribute only to the early stages of metastases formation, as a pathway for tumor dissemination from the primary site to the regional lymph nodes. We propose that, in addition, regional lymphatics and the lymphatics in distant organs are sites of metastatic growth and a source of breast cancer recurrence. The main goal of the proposal is to identify peptides produced by lymphatic endothelial cells that promote survival and growth of metastases. Such peptides could be employed as targets for development of novel therapies for treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
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