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Collective behavior of tumor cells - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Tumor cells do not only act as individual cells, but also as part of a cell collective. Thereby they gain new complex behaviors that can not be simply deduced from single cells. For example, on unfavorable surfaces single thyroid tumor cells migrate only poorly or not at all (Fig. 2). In a collective, this deficit is compensated and the cells start to migrate. - What communication systems are the basis of this "swarm-like" behavior and how can it be disrupted or at least limited?

Figure 2: Selected time-lapse micrographs of a migrating collective of thyroid tumor cells at a time interval of 24 hours. Over time, the migration front has clearly moved downward. Single cells that are not integrated into the collective do not migrate (lower arrow), while individual cells that were integrated into the collective start to migrate (upper arrow; in the time-laps movie the migration course can be easily followed).

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