Tumor cells do not exist in isolation in vivo, and carcinogenesis depends on the surrounding tumor microenvironment (TME), composed of a myriad of cell types and biophysical and biochemical components. Fibroblasts are integral in maintaining tissue homeostasis. However, even before a tumor develops, pro-tumorigenic fibroblasts in close proximity can provide the fertile ‘soil’ to the cancer ‘seed’ and are known as cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). In response to intrinsic and extrinsic stressors, CAFs reorganize the TME enabling metastasis, therapeutic resistance, dormancy and reactivation by secreting cellular and acellular factors. In this review, we summarize the recent discoveries on CAF-mediated cancer progression with a particular focus on fibroblast heterogeneity and plasticity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)