Researchers describe how tumors recruit and use stem cells to support tumor growth and progression

October 20, 2016
Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

A new study has identified a mechanism used by tumors to recruit stem cells from bone and convert them into cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) that facilitate tumor progression. This work, which pinpoints the specific biochemical pathways and cell signaling molecules involved in these processes, could lead to new therapeutic targets for suppressing tumor growth, as discussed in an article in Stem Cells and Development.

A team of researchers from China, led by Xue Yang and Xiong-Zhi Wu, Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, and Tianjin Medical University and General Hospital, describe their results in the article entitled "bFGF Promotes Migration and Induces Cancer-associated Fibroblasts Differentiation of Mouse Bone Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Promote Tumor Growth." The authors show that use basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) signaling to help them attract bone mesenchymal (MSCs) and induce their conversion into CAFs. They present evidence of the pro-tumor effects of stem cell recruitment and CAFs, primarily through their effects on the tumor microenvironment.

"Here we have for the first time a mechanistic underpinning of how a tumor might recruit MSCs and induce their conversion to cancer-associated fibroblasts which then facilitate ," says Editor-in-Chief Graham C. Parker, PhD, The Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI. "The crucial role of bFGF signaling provides not only a greater understanding of the process, but also suggests therapeutic targets."

Explore further: Researchers take step toward understanding how multiple myeloma takes hold

More information: Xue Yang et al, bFGF promotes migration and induces cancer-associated fibroblasts differentiation of mouse bone mesenchymal stem cells to promote tumor growth, Stem Cells and Development (2016). DOI: 10.1089/scd.2016.0217

Related Stories

Bone marrow inflammation predicts leukemia risk

October 3, 2016

Cancer is generally thought to arise from genetic damage within individual cells, but recent evidence has suggested that abnormal signaling in the surrounding tissue also plays an important role. In a study published September ...

MicroRNAs identified as novel targets for treating asthma

June 24, 2016

A new study shows that microRNAs, which are small, noncoding RNA molecules that can silence genes, have an important role in inducing asthma. Regulating the function of specific miRNAs identified in the study could represent ...

Recommended for you

The gene behind follicular lymphoma

June 28, 2017

Follicular lymphoma is an incurable cancer that affects over 200,000 people worldwide every year. A form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, follicular lymphoma develops when the body starts making abnormal B-cells, which are white ...

A new weapon for the war on cancer

June 28, 2017

Cancerous tumors are formidable enemies, recruiting blood vessels to aid their voracious growth, damaging nearby tissues, and deploying numerous strategies to evade the body's defense systems. But even more malicious are ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.