Role of Stroma in Disease Progression
In the past, most research into cancer initiation and development, as well as into the progression from local to systemic disease, has focused on the tumor tissue per se. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that the configuration of the local microenvironment, and the nature of dynamic interactions occurring between cellular and structural elements of the stroma (generally defined as those tissue components distal to the basement membrane in normal tissue) and the tumor, can play significant roles. An understanding of these interactions will thus facilitate the development of strategies to manipulate the microenvironment, which are likely to represent the next important set of additions to the therapeutic armamentarium. Here, we describe the processes occurring in tumor stroma, using breast cancer as a model system.
KeywordsBreast Cancer Hepatocyte Growth Factor Myoepithelial Cell Gene Expression Profile Study Estrogen Receptor Positive Patient
Many studies have addressed the various components of the breast cancer stroma and their interactions with each other, and with the tumor per se. Therefore space limitations render it impossible to adequately acknowledge all of the contributions by the many key individuals and groups who have studied different aspects of this research area in detail, and have made it necessary to refer the reader to reviews in many cases where the primary literature is very large. The authors apologize in advance for any omissions.
Work on this area in our group has been supported by grants from multiple agencies, including the Québec Breast Cancer Foundation, Genome Canada–Génome Québec, Valorisation-Recherche Québec, the Fonds de la Récherche en Santé du Québec, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Terry Fox Foundation (to M.P.). M.P. holds the Diane and Sal Guerrera Chair in Cancer Genetics at McGill University.
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