Cancer Program Publication

Evidence for a Molecular Signature of Metastasis in Primary Solid Tumors
Additional Projects/
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology
AbstractMetastasis is the principal cause of death in cancer patients, yet its genetic basis remains poorly understood. To explore the molecular differences between human primary tumors and metastases, we compared the gene expression profiles of adenocarcinoma metastases of multiple tumor types to unmatched primary adenocarcinomas. First, we were able to find a gene expression signature that distinguished primary from metastatic adenocarcinomas. Second, and more surprisingly, we found that a subset of primary tumors resembled metastatic tumors with respect to this gene expression signature. We confirmed this finding by applying this expression signature to data on 279 primary solid tumors of diverse types. We found that solid tumors carrying the metastasis gene expression signature were most likely to be associated with metastasis and poor clinical outcome (P < 0.03). These results suggest that the metastatic potential of human tumors is encoded in the bulk of a primary tumor, thus challenging the notion that metastases arise from rare cells within a primary tumor that have the ability to metastasize.
AuthorsSridhar Ramaswamy, Ken N. Ross, Eric S. Lander, & Todd R. Golub
Publication Date12/09/2002
Contact emails
Publication URL
CitationNature Genetics, vol. 33, January 2003, pp. 49-54.
KeywordsMetastasis; Computational Biology; Cancer
Supplemental Information
Multi-tumor Cancer Map Paper
Lung Paper
Breast Paper
Prostate Paper
Medulloblastoma Paper
Lymphoma Paper
Supplemental InformationMets_Supplement_Information_041110_KR.xls
Dataset A - Global Cancer Map Tumor vs. Met.DatasetA_Tum_vs_Met.res
Dataset B - Lung OutcomeDatasetB_Lung_outcome.res
Dataset C - Rosetta Breast OutcomeDatasetC_Rosetta_breast_outcome.res
Dataset D - Prostate OutcomeDatasetD_prostate_outcome.res
Dataset E - Medulloblastoma OutcomeDatasetE_medulloblastoma_outcome.res
Dataset F - LBC Lymphoma OutcomeDatasetF_lymphoma_outcome.res
Table of ContentsTable_of_Contents.pdf