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Metastasis - Definition


Metastasis is a secondary localization of a disease, mainly cancer, where an initial disease developed and allowed cells to spread, via the blood or lymphatic circulation, to another part of the body. In the case of cancer, the original tumor, called primitive, progresses within an organ as the spread of cancer cells continues, initially via the lymphatics, which gives rise to so-called nodal metastases by accumulation of these tumor cells in the lymph nodes. Lymph and blood can then dump these cells in an area very distant from the area initially affected by the diseased organ. Cancer with metastasis is called metastatic or generalized cancer when multiple locations exist and this multiplication of affected areas makes it much more difficult to treat than a localized cancer.