In the tumour microenvironment, cancer cells directly interact with both the immune system and the stroma. It is firmly established that the immune system, historically believed to be a major part of the body's defence against tumour progression, can be reprogrammed by tumour cells to be ineffective, inactivated, or even acquire tumour promoting phenotypes. Likewise, stromal cells and extracellular matrix can also have pro-and anti-tumour properties. However, there is strong evidence that the stroma and immune system also directly interact, therefore creating a tripartite interaction that exists between cancer cells, immune cells and tumour stroma. This interaction contributes to the maintenance of a chronically inflamed tumour microenvironment with pro-tumorigenic immune phenotypes and facilitated metastatic dissemination. A comprehensive understanding of cancer in the context of dynamical interactions of the immune system and the tumour stroma is therefore required to truly understand the progression toward and past malignancy.
Bibliographical note36 pages, 4 figures, 1 table
- Extracellular Matrix
- Immune System
- Tumor Microenvironment