The Tumor Microenvironment – A Scientific Brief

Oncology Assignment Instructions

The Virginia Academy of Science is requesting for scientific articles from experts in the field of oncology for their monthly scientific publication,  after doing research on “The Role of the Microenvironment in Tumor Initiation, Progression, and Metastasis,” write a descriptive essay on the topic “The Tumor Microenvironment – A Scientific Brief”. 

The Tumor Microenvironment – A Scientific Brief – Sample Descriptive Essay


Similar to normal epithelial cells carcinoma cells survive in a complex microenvironment which includes diffusible cytokines and growth factors, extracellular matrix (ECM), and a different types of non-epithelial cells that include those containing the vasculature, those that react to injury and infection, and fibroblasts. It has been acknowledged that carcinomas induce an altered stroma via growth factors expression which enhances angiogenesis, modified ECM expressional, increased recruitment of inflammatory cell and accelerated fibroblast proliferation. Blood vessels are also said to be vital tumor environment component. Carcinomas metastasize and reshape in distant organs due to creation of new blood vessels2.

Read also Tumor Angiogenesis

The Role of Microenvironment in Tumor Initiation

The molecular situations that result to the cancer cell initiation entails critical mutations in genes controlling normal differentiation and growth of cells. Cancer initiating cells or cancer stem cells have been found to exist in the context of acute prostate, myeloid leukemia, melanoma, breast, lung, bone and brain, These cells have been found to be vital in development of tumor and need to anchorage the needed mutation to initiate a tumor. Cancer cells flourish at a much higher rate compared to normal cells and spread to distance organs or attack nearby tissues. A number of tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes are altered in cancer cells and are found to play a significant role in metastasis, invasion and proliferation of cancer cell. Possibly, the most substantial demonstration of the influence of microenvironment in cancer initiation is that its disruptions results to aberrant growth, a full-brown malignancy and a new genetic lesions. A functional association also exists between cancer and inflammation. Cancers normally arises in chronic inflammation areas. Some of the examples colon carcinoma bowel inflation disease caused by H.pylori infection is associated to stomach cancer.

The Role of Microenvironment in Tumor Progression and Metastasis

Tumor microenvironment that comprises of resident fibroblasts, extracellular matrix, endothelial cells, leukocytes, and pericytes contributes to the cancer progression. Studies demonstrate that human tumors are beyond an accumulating mass of malignant cancer cells. Tumor cells can actually recruit vascular cells, stromal cells and immune cells, by secreting cytokines, chemokines and stimulatory growth factors.

Read also Cancer Prevention – Healthy People 2020 Objectives

These recruited cells in turn release remodel tissue structure, intermediate metabolites, and growth-promoting signals to create the microenvironment. The mutual communication between the microenvironment and cancer cells eventually result to improved metastatic and proliferation capability and eventual death. Thus tumor microenvironment plays an active participation in metastasis and progression cancer process.

Read also The Environment and Cancer – My Biomedical Perspective – Descriptive Essay

To enhance progression, stromal cells secrete growth factors into the environment which promote progression of tumor through stimulation of cellular differentiation, proliferation and cellular growth. For instance, transformational growth factor-β (TGFβ) is famous for primary carcinomas invasiveness and enhancing EMT. Blocking the pathway of TGFβ signaling can lower metastatic and intravasation seeding in bone and lungs. Growth factors such as chemokines are also significant in promoting tumor growth. Chemokine signaling is highly important in wound healing, inflammation and cellular transformation, and also in metastasis, tumor growth, tumorigenesis and angiogenesis.

Read also The Molecular Basis of Cancer

 Tumor metastasis normally involves of a series of disconnected biological processes which shift tumor cells to a distant organ from the basic neoplasma. This process engages local inversion, arrest of the site of a distant organ, extravasation, intravasation, circulation survival, formation of micromestastasis, followed by colonization of metastatic and eventually the formation of metastases that are clinically detectable.  Accumulating evidence demonstrates that tumor metastasis is not only supported by epigenetic and genetic tumor cells alteration, but also mediated by stromal tumor cells.

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