For a long time scientists involved in cancer research have focused their attention on cancer cells, neglecting other components of tumorous tissue. By now it became evident that stromal elements have a tremendous impact on the nature of cancer. The tumor stroma contains fibroblasts, endothelial cells of blood vessels and inflammatory cells. They maintain an active cross-talk with the tumor cells via regulatory factors, embedded in the extracellular matrix, a substance built up mainly by glycoproteins. At the beginning of tumor development the stroma exerts a protective action against tumor growth. However, its phenotype gradually changes ending up with the state of "primed stroma" which supports tumorous growth. This is characterized by activated myofibroblasts producing matrix proteins in increased quantity and of altered quality. This matrix is rich in proteoglycans acting as growth factor reservoirs, or coreceptors for stimulatory signal transduction on the tumor cell surface. Other matrix proteins interact with integrin receptors of cancer cells. Triptic fragments of matrix proteins can increase or inhibit angiogenesis, which is a critical requirement for tumor growth. Recently, it was evidenced that tumor-associated fibroblasts contain genetic alterations, which also act toward the progression of the tumor. In the light of these new data, stroma is increasingly emerging as an alternative therapeutic target.
|Translated title of the contribution||Role of stroma in the neoplastic growth|
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2006|
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