The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

Making Heads and Tails of Metastasis

Two-time Image Awards winner David Benjamin is the lead author on a paper, published in Cancer Research, exploring the influence of the gene YAP on tumor cell behavior within the circulatory system. Using a transparent zebrafish model and time lapse imaging, Hynes Lab researchers tracked the movement of intravenously injected tumor cells through the vasculature, determining that YAP promotes active migration within small blood vessels.

This migration allowed cells with active YAP to move through vessels that trapped control cells, re-enter systemic circulation, and disseminate more widely throughout the animal. In collaboration with the Manalis lab, the results were corroborated in a mouse model. The team’s findings demonstrate how a single gene can affect the global patterns of metastasis within an organism. The work was supported in part by the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology at MIT.