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January 10, 1966

Several Theories of Cancer Spread Challenged

JAMA. 1966;195(2):38-39. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100020016004

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Several keystone theories of the lymphatic system's role in the metastasis of malignancy have been challenged by two brothers working at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

A series of experiments tracing tumor cell transport and dissemination under various conditions were reported to the First International Conference on Lymph and the Lymphatic System by Bernard Fisher, MD, Pittsburgh professor of surgery.

Data derived from the work, Bernard Fisher, MD, (left), and Edwin R. Fisher, MD. done with Edwin R. Fisher, MD, professor of pathology, include indications that:

  • "Such a close relationship exists between the lymphatic and the venous systems as to make consideration of tumor dissemination by one or the other academic . . . not practically possible;"

  • Lymph nodes are not impervious barriers to tumor cells;

  • Lymph may be a favorable, not tumor-cidal, bed for cell growth.

The controversy over lymphaticovenous communications is a long-standing one, Dr. Fisher commented. However, many now

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