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Cancer Microenviron. 2008 Dec;1(1):69-83. doi: 10.1007/s12307-008-0007-2. Epub 2008 Mar 14.

Role of cancer microenvironment in metastasis: focus on colon cancer.

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Le Centre de recherche en cancérologie de l'Université Laval, L'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, 9 rue McMahon, Quebec, Canada.


One person on three will receive a diagnostic of cancer during his life. About one third of them will die of the disease. In most cases, death will result from the formation of distal secondary sites called metastases. Several events that lead to cancer are under genetic control. In particular, cancer initiation is tightly associated with specific mutations that affect proto-oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes. These mutations lead to unrestrained growth of the primary neoplasm and a propensity to detach and to progress through the subsequent steps of metastatic dissemination. This process depends tightly on the surrounding microenvironment. In fact, several studies support the point that tumour development relies on a continuous cross-talk between cancer cells and their cellular and extracellular microenvironments. This signaling cross-talk is mediated by transmembrane receptors expressed on cancer cells and stromal cells. The aim of this manuscript is to review how the cancer microenvironment influences the journey of a metastatic cell taking liver invasion by colorectal cancer cells as a model.

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