During cancer progression, malignant cells in the tumour invade surrounding tissues. This transformation of adherent cells to a motile phenotype has been associated with the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). Here, we show that EMT-activated cells migrate through micropillar arrays as a collectively advancing front that scatters individual cells. Individual cells with few neighbours dispersed with fast, straight trajectories, whereas cells that encountered many neighbours migrated collectively with epithelial biomarkers.
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