The lymph nodes were the quickest to be affected by metastasizing lung cancer cells, with the adrenal gland and liver following close behind.
At the other end of the spectrum, lung cancer cells take so long to spread to the bladder and uterus that an individual with lung cancer would probably have died before those sites can be affected.
Unfortunately, the researchers’ dataset didn’t include records of the times when doctors noticed each new tumor. But the researchers could see how many tumors existed in each new site, input that information into the model, and calculate each progression.
“What we’re trying to do now is use this baseline model and make it patient specific, or at least subgroup specific to make more targeted predictions,” Newton said.
The researchers will also play with the model, searching for novel ways of reducing a cancer’s likeliness of spreading, for example, by isolating a key site in the body that would spread to other locations.