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Tumor microenvironment: The role of the tumor stroma in cancer

Authors

  • Hanchen Li,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine and Cancer Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605
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  • Xueli Fan,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine and Cancer Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605
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  • JeanMarie Houghton

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine and Cancer Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605
    • Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine and Cancer Biology, LRB room 209, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605.
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Abstract

The tumor microenvironment, composed of non-cancer cells and their stroma, has become recognized as a major factor influencing the growth of cancer. The microenvironment has been implicated in the regulation of cell growth, determining metastatic potential and possibly determining location of metastatic disease, and impacting the outcome of therapy. While the stromal cells are not malignant per se, their role in supporting cancer growth is so vital to the survival of the tumor that they have become an attractive target for chemotherapeutic agents. In this review, we will discuss the various cellular and molecular components of the stromal environment, their effects on cancer cell dynamics, and the rationale and implications of targeting this environment for control of cancer. Additionally, we will emphasize the role of the bone marrow-derived cell in providing cells for the stroma. J. Cell. Biochem. 101: 805–815, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ancillary