Breast cancer development and progression are believed to be a sequential process, from normal to hyperplastic, to in situ, and to invasive and metastatic stages. Given that over 90% of cancer deaths are caused by invasive and metastatic lesions, countless factors and multiple theories have been proposed as the triggering factor for the cascade of actions of cancer invasion. However, those factors and theories are largely based on the studies of cell lines or animal models. In addition, corresponding interventions based on these factors and theories have failed to reduce the incidence rate of invasive and metastatic lesions, suggesting that previous efforts may have failed to arm at the right target. Considering these facts and observations, we are proposing “A focal aberrant degeneration in the myoepithelial cell layer (MECL) as the most likely triggering factor for breast cancer invasion”. Our hypothesis is based on our recent studies of breast and multiple other cancers. Our commentary provides the rationale, morphologic, immunohistochemical, and molecular data to support our hypotheses. As all epithelium-derived cancers share a very similar architecture, our hypothesis is likely to be applicable to invasion of all cancer types. We believe that human tissue-derived data may provide a more realistic roadmap to guide the clinic practice.
- Breast myoepithelial cell layer
- Cell interactions
- Tumor capsule
- Tumor invasion