Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Cancer Prevention and Intervention of Ministry of Education, The Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310009, China.
Metastasis is responsible for most deaths of cancer burdens. Given that metastatic cancer cells are generally very low in quantity but high in multiplicity, and able to migrate to diverse organs, the diagnosis and intervention of metastatic cancers face varieties of challenges. For example, the biomarker for early diagnosis, and detection of circulating tumor cells by way of epithelial cell adhesion molecule, are complicated by the epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT). Enhanced permeation and retention have been widely explored but with limitations, especially for microscale metastatic tumors. Furthermore, drug-resistance and side-effects of chemotherapy remain problematic for diverse cancers. Interfaces of cells play essential roles in many physiological activities including signal transduction and immunological recognition, which can be exploited for medical application of interfacial materials; indeed, given unique chemical and physical interfacial properties, numerous micro/nano particles and interfacial materials exhibit great potentials for diagnosis and intervention of metastatic cancers. Here we highlight current research, opportunities and challenges for application potentials of biological interfacial engineering in diagnosis and intervention of metastatic cancers.