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Int J Surg Pathol. 2004 Jan;12(1):1-9.

"Stromatogenesis" and tumor progression.

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Department of Pathology, Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis, Greece.


"Stromatogenesis" is the formation of new stroma occurring, in parallel with the neoplastic process, at sites of active tumor invasion, i.e., at the free surface of a developing exophytic tumor, at the invading tumor front of an advancing endophytic tumor, and at sites of tumor metastasis, wherein the newly formed stroma disrupts the continuity of normal structures, cleaving paths for the invading tumor cells. Stroma is also present at the heart of the tumor, but only as a secondary event following tumor advancement and subsequent incorporation of its periphery into inner tumor areas. The new stroma, composed of stromal cells and extracellular matrix (ECM), is loose and edematous at the expanding tumor fronts, and rather dense in central tumor areas and sites of tumor metastasis. The stromal cells facing tumor invasion are intensely proliferating (high MIB-1 index) spindle-shaped cells, alpha-smooth muscle actin positive, and loaded with thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and SPARC (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine). The associated ECM is rich in collagen III, SPARC, and new blood vessels (CD31) but is depleted of collagen I and fibronectin. These constitutional changes render stromatogenesis amenable to tumor cell invasion and are, in cases of incipient neoplasia, a prospective criterion of early stromal invasion. Other stromal cell or ECM constituents, such as the lactate dehydrogenase-5 (LDH-5), the acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF), the basic FGF (bFGF), and the collagens II and IV, remain unchanged, and others are negative: myosin, desmin, S-100 protein and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). The mechanism of stromatogenesis is obscure but is probably stimulated by specific stromatogenic growth factors, released by neoplastic and inflammatory cells. It appears that the process is neither neoplastic nor reactive, but rather is a, hereto unexplained, phenomenon of host's complicity in tumor progression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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