, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 41-73

Fibrin as a component of the tumor stroma: origins and biological significance

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An association between cancer and the coagulation system was suggested by Trousseau more than a century ago and initial reports of fibrin deposition in the stroma of solid tumors date back some 25 years. However, the validity and generality of these observations have only quite recently been established, and their implications for an understanding of tumor biology, metastasis, and therapy are only now coming to be appreciated by investigators in the mainstream of cancer research. This article reviews the current status of fibrin's role in the biology of tumor growth, considering in turn: (1) the evidence that fibrin is present in tumors, the nature of such fibrin, and its relation to plasma fibronectin; (2) the mechanisms by which fibrin may come to be deposited in tumors; and (3) the potential biological and medical significance of tumorassociated fibrin deposition and degradation. Among the last are such important possiblities as a barrier function to the immune response and possible roles in angiogenesis, desmoplasia, and metastasis.