A recent discovery may allow doctors to target a new cellular pathway with breast cancer treatment drugs in the future.
Researchers at the University of Helsinki identified a series of metabolic reactions which allow tumours to 'cleave' through healthy cells in the mammary epithelial tissue and spread to other areas.
Scientists explained that this was an important breakthrough, as cancer is rarely fatal while it is contained in the area it develops in.
"If we could delay or prevent a tumour from switching from one that grows in place to one that invades, then that would be a major milestone in cancer treatment," said co-author of the study Zena Werb, a professor of anatomy.
To be successful, researchers will need to develop a drug which inhibits a protein called hepsin, which helps the tumour cut through healthy membranes.
According to Macmillan, breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and is currently treated with a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.