Why does prostate cancer spread to lymph nodes?

Lead researcher

Dr Elizabeth Williams, A/Professor Kenneth Opeskin, Ms Catherine Temelcos

Monash University

Years funded

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Once prostate cancer has spread from the prostate to other places in the body, a process called metastasis, it is difficult to cure.

The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to are lymph nodes. Lymphatic vessels are the key route for drainage of fluid from tissues. Prostate cancer cells use lymphatic vessels to escape from the prostate and spread to lymph nodes, where they form new tumors.

It is not known how prostate cancer cells do this. Tumour cells can then spread to the body's vital organs. Thus lymph node metastasis make an important contribution to the eventual death of men from prostate cancer. Prevention and/or improved treatment of lymph node metastasis would impact significantly on the survival and quality of life of men with prostate cancer.


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