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Biomechanical aspects of the normal and cancer-associated lymphatic system

Book Contribution - Chapter

The presence of lymph node metastasis is a robust adverse prognostic marker in cancer patients. Solid cancers coopt the existing lymphatic system and induce lymphangiogenesis in the process of lymphatic metastatic spread. While the biochemical and molecular mechanisms that orchestrate lymphatic metastasis have been studied in detail, much less is known about the biomechanical properties of the normal and cancer-associated lymphatic system. Over the past decade, the insight has evolved that physical properties such as increased matrix stiffness and elevated interstitial fluid and solid pressures are hallmarks of the cancer microenvironment which contribute to clinical phenotypes such as invasiveness, propensity to metastasize, and treatment response. Although the role of mechanical drivers in the pathophysiology of lymphatic metastasis has only begun to be unraveled, the available data suggest that lymphatic seeding is accompanied and facilitated by altered biomechanical properties such as lymphatic fluid flow, microvessel and lymph node pressures, and nodal tissue stiffness. The availability of computational models, advanced microfluidic systems, and progress in noninvasive methods to measure stromal mechanical properties offer significant opportunities for multidisciplinary research endeavors in the field of lymphatic metastasis.
Book: The lymphatic system in colorectal cancer : basic concepts, pathology, imaging, and treatment perspectives
Pages: 21 - 41
Publication year:2022