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.
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.