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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


metastasize  listen  (meh-TAS-tuh-size)

  To spread from one part of the body to another. When cancer cells metastasize and form secondary tumors, the cells in the metastatic tumor are like those in the original (primary) tumor.

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Metastasis; drawing shows primary cancer that has spread from the colon to other parts of the body (the lung and the brain). An inset shows cancer cells spreading from the primary cancer, through the blood and lymph system, to another part of the body where a metastatic tumor has formed.