Seed and Soil Theory

Breast Cancer Cells in Liver

Stephen Paget proposed his "seed and soil" theory of cancer. He analyzed over 1000 autopsy records of women who had breast cancer and found that the patterns of metastasis were not random. Thus, he proposed that tumor cells (the seeds) have a specific affinity for specific organs (the soil), and metastasis would only result if the seed and soil were compatible.1 2

  • 1Pantel, K., Cote, R.J., and Fodsyad, O. "Detection and Clinical Importance of Micrometastatic Disease."Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 91 (1999): 1113-1124. [PUBMED]
  • 2Fidler, I.J. et al. "The Seed and Soil Hypothesis: Vascularization and Brain Metastasis." The Lancet Oncology. 3 (2002): 53-57. [PUBMED]