, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 1-17
Date: 27 Jul 2007

Anti-cancer therapies targeting the tumor stroma

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For anti-tumor therapy different strategies have been employed, e.g., radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy. Notably, these approaches do not only address the tumor cells themselves, but also the tumor stroma cells, e.g., endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and macrophages. This is of advantage, since these cells actively contribute to the proliferative and invasive behavior of the tumor cells via secretion of growth factors, angiogenic factors, cytokines, and proteolytic enzymes. In addition, tumor stroma cells take part in immune evasion mechanisms of cancer. Thus, approaches targeting the tumor stroma attract increasing attention as anti-cancer therapy. Several molecules including growth factors (e.g., VEGF, CTGF), growth factor receptors (CD105, VEGFRs), adhesion molecules (αvβ3 integrin), and enzymes (CAIX, FAPα, MMPs, PSMA, uPA) are induced or upregulated in the tumor microenvironment which are otherwise characterized by a restricted expression pattern in differentiated tissues. Consequently, these molecules can be targeted by inhibitors as well as by active and passive immunotherapy to treat cancer. Here we discuss the results of these approaches tested in preclinical models and clinical trials.