An undifferentiated human lung carcinoma was resected and explanted in vitro; its primary origin has been subsequently confirmed by autopsy study. Film recordings were made of 45 cancer cells exhibiting a peculiar type of cytoplasmic streaming, designated “pericyclosis.” The movement involved the peripheral portion of the cytoplasm and resulted in a continual, circling motion around a central cell mass. Special aspects of the streaming were the relatively constant cycling time of 1 min, the gel-sol interphase appearance, reversal of direction, the occurrence of exactly proportioned biphasic forms, and the invariable presence of cohesion loss and cell rounding. The initiation of the movement, the general association with “death agony,” and the relationship to cyclosis of plants are discussed.


Supported by grants from the NIH (CA 06946-03), NIH General Research Support Grant (FR-05356-04), the American Cancer Society, California Branch (#339), and the Hastings Foundation.

This content is only available via PDF.