Cancer cell fusion: Mechanisms slowly unravel

Felicite K. Noubissi, Brenda M. Ogle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Although molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways driving invasion and metastasis have been studied for many years, the origin of the population of metastatic cells within the primary tumor is still not well understood. About a century ago, Aichel proposed that cancer cell fusion was a mechanism of cancer metastasis. This hypothesis gained some support over the years, and recently became the focus of many studies that revealed increasing evidence pointing to the possibility that cancer cell fusion probably gives rise to the metastatic phenotype by generating widespread genetic and epigenetic diversity, leading to the emergence of critical populations needed to evolve resistance to the treatment and development of metastasis. In this review, we will discuss the clinical relevance of cancer cell fusion, describe emerging mechanisms of cancer cell fusion, address why inhibiting cancer cell fusion could represent a critical line of attack to limit drug resistance and to prevent metastasis, and suggest one new modality for doing so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1587
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 21 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Cell fusion
  • Genetic diversity
  • Genomic instability
  • Metastasis
  • Phosphatidyl serine receptor


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