Science publishes Clawson’s Perspective article

Dr. Gary Clawson, professor of pathology, and biochemistry and molecular biology, has a Perspective article in the Nov. 8 edition of the journal Science.

Clawson’s article, “Fusion for Moving,” discusses the theory that tumor cells fuse with white blood cells to spread throughout the body.

Carcinomas arise from epithelia, continuous sheets of cells that line the cavities and surfaces of structures throughout the body.  Carcinomas are deadly because they metastasize to distant sites, but how the cancer cells develop the ability to spread is not known.

The prominent theory is that cancer cells (either undifferentiated “stem” cells or those which transition to a more primitive state) lose their ability to adhere to each other, allowing them to migrate to distant tissues.

However, another theory, which was proposed about 100 years ago, is that tumor cells fuse with cells that are mobile, specifically certain white blood cells and create a hybrid cell.

Clawson’s article reviews evidence to support the continued study into the fusion theory in cancer cell movement and how the ability to detect these hybrid cells in the circulatory system could lead to a diagnostic prior to formation of metastatic disease.

The full article is available at

Last Updated January 09, 2015