Cancer cells grow in an environment comprised of multiple components that support tumor growth and contribute to therapy resistance. Major cell types in the tumor microenvironment are fibroblasts, endothelial cells and infiltrating immune cells all of which communicate with cancer cells. One way that these cell types promote cancer progression is by altering the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs), small noncoding RNAs that negatively regulate protein expression, either in the cancer cells or in the associated normal cells. Changes in miRNA expression can be brought about by direct interaction between the stromal cells and cancer cells, by paracrine factors secreted by any of the cell types or even through direct communication between cells through secreted miRNAs. Understanding the role of miRNAs in the complex interactions between the tumor and cells in its microenvironment is necessary if we are to understand tumor progression and devise new treatments.
MicroRNAs as mediators and communicators between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment
Kohlhapp FJ, Mitra AK, Lengyel E, Peter ME. (2015) MicroRNAs as mediators and communicators between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment. Oncogene [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]