A new study adds to the evidence that chemotherapy enhances cancer’s spread beyond the primary tumor, showing how one chemo drug allows breast cancer cells to squeeze through and attach to blood vessel linings in the lungs.

The research in mice leaves no doubt that the chemo drug caused changes to non-cancer cells that enable this process. Scientists pre-treated healthy mice with the chemotherapy agent and gave them intravenous injections of breast cancer cells four days later.

Within three hours of injection, the cancer cells were penetrating weakened junctions between blood vessel cells in the lungs and binding to those vessels’ underlining structure – avoiding being washed away by blood flow.

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