There is a long held belief among medical doctors and scientists that metastatic tumours are histologically similar to the primary. This belief is reified because it supports the prevailing theory of cancer metastasis. The latter teaches that tumour cells detach from the primary site to intravasate into the blood stream reach distant organs where they extravasate into the target tissues and grow to form a metastatic cancer. However, there are several problems with the prevailing theory which have remained unexplained. Our research findings have led to an alternative theory that proposes that metastases are new cancers initiated in cells of target organs through a process of de novo oncogenesis by fragmented chromatin derived from dead cancer cells.
To test this hypothesis we have taken two approaches. In the first, we have collected pathological slides of 400 metastatic tumours from different sites. Three senior pathologists will be asked to identify the primary sites from where these metastases arose without prior knowledge of their primary origin. This study will scientifically test for the first time the widely held belief that metastatic tumours are histologically similar to the primary. In the second approach, we have taken nearly 300 primary and metastatic tumours of diverse origins. If our alternative theory of metastasis were to be true that metastatic tumours arise de novo from cells of target organs rather than primary tumours growing at distant sites, the metastatic tumours should express at least some of the normal antigens of visceral cells from which they arise. The primary tumours, on the other hand, should not express these antigens.