Cancer metastasis is the end result of a complex series of biologic events that leads to the formation of clinically significant secondary tumors at distant sites. The sites of distant metastasis are not random since certain tumors show a tendency to develop metastases in specific organs. Human melanoma, for example, demonstrates frequent metastasis to brain, lungs, lymph nodes, and skin. Herein, we review the evidence that suggests that a limited number of chemokine receptors may play critical roles in determining organ-selective metastasis in melanoma by regulating diverse processes such as chemoattraction, adhesion, and survival. In particular, we describe roles for CC chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7) in lymph node metastasis, CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) in pulmonary metastasis, and CCR10 in skin metastasis, using a mouse model of melanoma. Preliminary evidence in this preclinical model suggests that inhibiting the function of these receptors may decrease the ability of cancer cells to disseminate to other sites and/or block their ability to survive and form tumors. Therefore, manipulation of the chemokine network could have therapeutic potential in human malignancies.
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