Evidence for an additional metastatic route: In vivo imaging of cancer cells in the primo-vascular system around tumors and organs

Jung Sun Yoo, Hong Bae Kim, Nayoun Won, Jiwon Bang, Sungjee Kim, Saeyoung Ahn, Byung Cheon Lee, Kwang Sup Soh

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Researchers have been studying the mechanisms by which metastasis can be prevented via blocking the hematogenous and the lymphatic routes for a long time now. However, metastasis is still the single most challenging obstacle for successful cancer management. In a new twist that may require some retooling of this established approach, we investigated the hypothesis that tumor metastases can occur via an independent fluid-conducting system called the primo-vascular system. Procedures: The dissemination and growth of near-infrared quantum dot (NIR QD)-electroporated cancer cells in metastatic sites were investigated using in vivo multispectral imaging techniques. Results: Our results show that the NIR QD-labeled cancer cells were able to migrate through not only the blood vascular and lymphatic systems but also the primo-vascular system extending from around the tumor to inside the abdominal cavity. Furthermore, the NIR QD-labeled cancer cells, which had been seeded intraperitoneally, specifically infiltrated the primo-vascular system in the omentum and in the gonadal fat. Conclusions: These findings strongly suggest that the primo-vascular system may be an additional metastasis route, complementing the lymphatic and hematogenous routes, which facilitate the dissemination and colonization of cancer cells at secondary sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-480
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer metastasis
  • Electroporation
  • Multispectral imaging
  • Near-infrared quantum dots
  • Primo-vascular system
  • Vasculogenic mimicry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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