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Mechanisms for the biomechanical destruction of L1210 leukemia cells: A rate regulator for metastasis

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Mechanical trauma appears to be one significant cause of the rapid intravascular death of cancer cells and, as such, could act as an important rate regulator for the metastatic process. Intravascular mechanical trauma to cancer cells is thought to be a consequence of shape transitions, occurring when they are deformed from spherical shape by entry into, and passage along, capillaries having smaller diameters than themselves. These transitions from spherical shape require increases in surface area; first, an apparent increase in surface area is accomplished by a reversible, nonlethal surface membrane unfolding. If this is insufficient to meet geometric demands, it is followed by a true increase in surface area, resulting in increased tension in the cancer cell surface membrane, leading to its lethal rupture.

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Correspondence to L. Weiss.

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Weiss, L., Harlos, J.P., Elkin, G. et al. Mechanisms for the biomechanical destruction of L1210 leukemia cells: A rate regulator for metastasis. Cell Biophysics 16, 149 (1990).

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Index Entries

  • Metastasis
  • biomechanical trauma
  • inefficiency
  • microvasculature