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Cancer microenvironment and genomics: evolution in process

Authors: Leong, Stanley P.; Witz, Isaac P.; Sagi-Assif, Orit; Izraely, Sivan; Sleeman, Jonathan; Piening, Brian; Fox, Bernard A.; Bifulco, Carlo B.; Martini, Rachel; Newman, Lisa; Davis, Melissa; Sanders, Lauren M.; Haussler, David; Vaske, Olena M.; Witte, Marlys

Online: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10585-021-10097-9

Issue: Clin Exp Metastasis. 2021 May 10.


Cancer heterogeneity is a result of genetic mutations within the cancer cells. Their proliferation is not only driven by autocrine functions but also under the influence of cancer microenvironment, which consists of normal stromal cells such as infiltrating immune cells, cancer-associated fibroblasts, endothelial cells, pericytes, vascular and lymphatic channels. The relationship between cancer cells and cancer microenvironment is a critical one and we are just on the verge to understand it on a molecular level. Cancer microenvironment may serve as a selective force to modulate cancer cells to allow them to evolve into more aggressive clones with ability to invade the lymphatic or vascular channels to spread to regional lymph nodes and distant sites. It is important to understand these steps of cancer evolution within the cancer microenvironment towards invasion so that therapeutic strategies can be developed to control or stop these processes.