Modifying the tumour microenvironment and reverting tumour cells: New strategies for treating malignant tumours

Ya Qi Cheng, Shou Bi Wang, Jia Hui Liu, Lin Jin, Ying Liu, Chao Yang Li, Ya Ru Su, Yu Run Liu, Xuan Sang, Qi Wan, Chang Liu, Liu Yang, Zhi Chong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The tumour microenvironment (TME) plays a pivotal role in tumour fate determination. The TME acts together with the genetic material of tumour cells to determine their initiation, metastasis and drug resistance. Stromal cells in the TME promote the growth and metastasis of tumour cells by secreting soluble molecules or exosomes. The abnormal microenvironment reduces immune surveillance and tumour killing. The TME causes low anti-tumour drug penetration and reactivity and high drug resistance. Tumour angiogenesis and microenvironmental hypoxia limit the drug concentration within the TME and enhance the stemness of tumour cells. Therefore, modifying the TME to effectively attack tumour cells could represent a comprehensive and effective anti-tumour strategy. Normal cells, such as stem cells and immune cells, can penetrate and disrupt the abnormal TME. Reconstruction of the TME with healthy cells is an exciting new direction for tumour treatment. We will elaborate on the mechanism of the TME to support tumours and the current cell therapies for targeting tumours and the TME—such as immune cell therapies, haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation therapies, mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transfer and embryonic stem cell-based microenvironment therapies—to provide novel ideas for producing breakthroughs in tumour therapy strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12865
JournalCell Proliferation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • cell therapy
  • stem cell microenvironment
  • tumour microenvironment
  • tumour targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

Cite this