Breast cancer: how fibroblasts increase metastasis formation
Tumor microenvironment is essential to understanding cancer. Cancerous cells are not sealed off from the rest of the organism: they interact with their healthy neighbors and even use them for their purposes. Among them, fibroblasts are support cells that form the framework of all tissue.
Published in Nature Communication, the research conducted by Fatima Mechta-Grigoriou and her Stress and Cancer team (Inserm/Institut Curie) sheds light on how two distinct types of fibroblast interact to propagate metastasis in breast cancer patients. These two cell sub-populations are not seen in healthy tissue, but accumulate in cancer, and in particular in patients’ axillary metastases. Upon diagnosis, their accumulation is indicative of distal metastases that develop long-term in some patients, and of these patients’ survival rates.
This published research is important because it allows experts to identify the complementary mechanisms via which fibroblastic populations impact on cancerous cells and the surrounding matrix to increase propagation in cancerous cells. This data was collected through close inter-disciplinary collaboration between biologists, doctors and physicians.