A mechanism used by tumors to recruit stem
cells from bone and convert them into cancer-associated fibroblasts
(CAFs) that facilitate tumor progression has been identified by researchers.
This work, which pinpoints the
specific biochemical pathways and cell signaling molecules involved in
these processes, could lead to new therapeutic targets for suppressing
tumor growth, as discussed in an article in Stem Cells and Development.
‘Biochemical pathways and cell signaling molecules used by tumors to recruit stem cells from bone and convert them into cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) that facilitate tumor progression have been identified by researchers.’
The authors show that breast cancer cells use basic
fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) signaling to help them attract bone
mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and induce their conversion into CAFs.
They present evidence of the pro-tumor effects of stem cell recruitment
and CAFs, primarily through their effects on the tumor microenvironment.
"Here we have for the first time a mechanistic underpinning of how a
tumor might recruit MSCs and induce their conversion to
cancer-associated fibroblasts which then facilitate tumor progression,"
says Editor-in-Chief Graham C. Parker, The Carman and Ann Adams
Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine,
Detroit, MI. "The crucial role of bFGF signaling provides not only a
greater understanding of the process, but also suggests therapeutic