How neutrophils promote metastasis

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Science  08 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6282, pp. 145-146
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7300

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Metastatic disease is the main cause of death in cancer patients. Despite its devastating effects, the complex processes that lead to metastasis are poorly understood. During their journey to distant organs, cancer cells encounter various types of normal cells, including immune cells. Neutrophils are the most abundant immune cells in our blood, and they protect us from infections and facilitate wound healing. Intriguingly, neutrophils frequently accumulate in cancer patients. Recent studies have addressed the causal link between neutrophils and cancer in mouse tumor models, and point to a key role of neutrophils in promoting the most deadly aspect of cancer—its dissemination to distant organs (14).