Paper Chase is a research database designed to offer abstracts of research articles published in journals that have a highly rated impact factor as determined by ISI Impact Factor and PageRank. Abstracts are organized by date, with the most recently published papers listed first. 

Paper Chase

Circulating tumor cell clusters are oligoclonal precursors of breast cancer metastasis.

Cell. Aug 28, 2014;158(5):1110-1122.
Aceto N, Bardia A, Miyamoto DT, Donaldson MC, Wittner BS, Spencer JA, Yu M, Pely A, Engstrom A, Zhu H, Brannigan BW, Kapur R, Stott SL, Shioda T, Ramaswamy S, Ting DT, Lin CP, Toner M, Haber DA, Maheswaran S.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02129, USA; Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02129, USA. Electronic address:


Circulating tumor cell clusters (CTC clusters) are present in the blood of patients with cancer but their contribution to metastasis is not well defined. Using mouse models with tagged mammary tumors, we demonstrate that CTC clusters arise from oligoclonal tumor cell groupings and not from intravascular aggregation events. Although rare in the circulation compared with single CTCs, CTC clusters have 23- to 50-fold increased metastatic potential. In patients with breast cancer, single-cell resolution RNA sequencing of CTC clusters and single CTCs, matched within individual blood samples, identifies the cell junction component plakoglobin as highly differentially expressed. In mouse models, knockdown of plakoglobin abrogates CTC cluster formation and suppresses lung metastases. In breast cancer patients, both abundance of CTC clusters and high tumor plakoglobin levels denote adverse outcomes. Thus, CTC clusters are derived from multicellular groupings of primary tumor cells held together through plakoglobin-dependent intercellular adhesion, and though rare, they greatly contribute to the metastatic spread of cancer.