The “seed and soil” hypothesis ..

The current view of the Seed and Soil Hypothesis consists of three important concepts.

Stephen Paget and the ‘seed and soil’ theory of …

Thus the seed and soil hypothesis proposed by Stephen Paget more than 120 years ago may re-framed in a modern context explaining the ability of subset of tumor cells seed or CSCs to disseminate and metastasize to secondary organs where nutrient-rich microenvironment soil stimulates the secondary tumor growth by enhancing CSC self-renewal.",}

23/09/2006 · The English surgeon Stephen Paget ..

The final stage of cancer is the progression of cancer to other parts of the body (metastasis). This is akin to a weed producing seeds and spreading throughout the garden. However, unlike weeds, the original tumour will secrete substances that inhibit the growth of other tumours, leaving them at the micro tumour stage. This explains why once the original tumour is often surgically removed, other tumours rapidly form (because the inhibitors are removed from circulation). However, irrespective of this slight nuance, promotion ultimately results in the spread of cancer.


Dr. Stephen Paget discusses a patient with giant cell arteritis but a normal erythrocyte sedimentation rate and negative temporal artery biopsy. Medscape Rheumatology (Source: Medscape Today Headlines)


Stephen Paget and the “Seed and Soil” Theory of …

Initiation is the first stage in the development of cancer. In this process a normal cell will lose the requirement to divide only a limited number of times, and so will become immortal. In addition, the normal apoptotic regulatory mechanisms that programme cell death are inhibited. Initiation is analogous to a seed landing in the soil. At this point there is no real problem as the weed is small and not fully formed, and may even go unnoticed. However, the weed in genetically programmed to invade the space of other plants just as a cancer cell is programmed to invade other tissues.

Paget’s “seed and soil” hypothesis ..

Cancer is a difficult disease to understand because science makes it so complex. However, there are ways to describe the development of cancer that do not require a PhD in oncology. It was the surgeon Stephen Paget who first described the development of cancer as analogous to that of a growing weed. Weeds are defined in horticulture as plants that encroach upon and inhibit the growth of other plants. If we consider weeds to be cancer cells and the other plants to be normal healthy cells the analogy is in fact brilliant.

Cancer: The Seed and Soil Hypothesis


Dr Stephen Paget discusses the growing role of biosimilar medications in rheumatology. Medscape Rheumatology (Source: Medscape Pharmacist Headlines)

Initiation is analogous to a seed landing in the soil.

In human cancers, bone is a common site for metastasis. It is well known that metastasis is the cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with cancer. Both breast and prostate carcinomas have a propensity to metastasize to bone. In general, metastatic breast cancers result in osteolytic lesions. On the other hand, prostate cancer metastases are osteoblastic and result in osteosclerosis. Thus, bone formation and bone resorption are at the crux of the cancer metastasis problem. For example, in the prostate, there is a vicious cycle of metastasis to bone (Fig. 1). Metastases to bone causes excruciating bone pain, pathological fractures, and eventually death, and therefore is a serious challenge to both bone biologists and cancer cell biologists. The stromal-epithelial interactions in breast and prostate are critical in initiation of carcinogenesis and the progression of the metastatic cascade to bone (Fig. 2). Over a hundred years ago, Stephen Paget enunciated the seed and soil hypothesis in which seeds of metastatic cancer cells of breast preferentially settle in the soil of bone matrix. Thus, the prostate/breast cancer bone interface and continuum has continuously presented challenges and opportunities and were discussed at a recent workshop.