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J Cell Biol. 2012 Feb 20;196(4):395-406. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201102147.

The extracellular matrix: a dynamic niche in cancer progression.

Author information

  • 1Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit, University of Manchester, Manchester M20 4BX, England, UK.

Abstract

The local microenvironment, or niche, of a cancer cell plays important roles in cancer development. A major component of the niche is the extracellular matrix (ECM), a complex network of macromolecules with distinctive physical, biochemical, and biomechanical properties. Although tightly controlled during embryonic development and organ homeostasis, the ECM is commonly deregulated and becomes disorganized in diseases such as cancer. Abnormal ECM affects cancer progression by directly promoting cellular transformation and metastasis. Importantly, however, ECM anomalies also deregulate behavior of stromal cells, facilitate tumor-associated angiogenesis and inflammation, and thus lead to generation of a tumorigenic microenvironment. Understanding how ECM composition and topography are maintained and how their deregulation influences cancer progression may help develop new therapeutic interventions by targeting the tumor niche.

PMID:
22351925
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3283993
Free PMC Article

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