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Aiding and Abetting: How the Tumor Microenvironment Protects Cancer from Chemotherapy

Authors
  • Fiedler, Eleanor C.
  • Hemann, Michael T.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Cancer Biology
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Mar 04, 2019
Volume
3
Pages
409–428
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-cancerbio-030518-055524
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Disease recurrence following cancer therapy remains an intractable clinical problem and represents a major impediment to reducing the mortality attributable to malignant tumors. While research has traditionally focused on the cell-intrinsic mechanisms and mutations that render tumors refractory to both classical chemotherapeutics and targeted therapies, recent studies have begun to uncover myriad roles for the tumor microenvironment (TME) in modulating therapeutic efficacy. This work suggests that drug resistance is as much ecological as it is evolutionary. Specifically, cancers resident in organs throughout the body do not develop in isolation. Instead, tumor cells arise in the context of nonmalignant cellular components of a tissue. While the roles of these cell-extrinsic factors in cancer initiation and progression are well established, our understanding of the TME's influence on therapeutic outcome is in its infancy. Here, we focus on mechanisms by which neoplastic cells co-opt preexisting or treatment-induced signaling networks to survive chemotherapy.

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