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Degree of Cohesion of Cancer Cells and Its Relation to Cancer Spread

AMA Arch Surg. 1957;74(5):753-757. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1957.01280110095013.
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Cancers are of two kinds, lethal and nonlethal. Many pathologists and clinical observers believe that metastasis, or the spread of a lethal cancer from a primary site to distant parts of the body by transfer of its cells through the blood or lymph channels, depends more upon the fact that the cells of such a cancer do not cohere, or because there is only a feeble cohesion, than it does upon the rapid and lawless multiplication of the malignant agents. A nonlethal cancer, such as a rodent ulcer, is spread by local extension only, because its cells cohere firmly, and it can be completely removed unless it has penetrated unremovable structures. The following history of an untreated breast cancer prompted study of the degree of cohesion of cancer cells and the effects of this cohesion on cancer spread.

A 56-year-old white woman was admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital on May


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