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Created by: Jill Gallaher, Sandy Anderson, Jeffrey West, Maximilian Strobl, Mark Robertson-Tessi

Issue 264: Quantifying and characterizing metastases is tough due to the dispersal of cancer cells across multiple sites and the paucity of data. Utilizing a multiscale agent-based model, we linked the dynamics of tumor biomarkers with fundamental disease characteristics, such as the distribution of metastases and the diversity found both between and within metastatic locations. Our study revealed that one adaptive therapy cycle (treatment until 50% reduction, then regrowth) can unveil several metastatic traits, aiding treatment decision-making. This image, which was featured on the cover of Cancer Research this week, depicts a collection of metastases resembling a planetary system, centered on a primary tumor “sun” or “star”. In the same way in which planets are interconnected yet distinct entities, a metastatic cancer can only be fully understood if both its individual parts as well as their sum are taken into account.