Deciphering the Crosstalk between Tumor Cells and Their Microenvironment: From Molecular Aspects to Therapeutic Implications

Topical Collection-Cancers (IF 6.575)

Dear Colleagues,

The interplay between tumor cells and their microenvironment (tumor microenvironment, TME) is a well-established hallmark feature of human tumors. TME comprises different cells, such as fibroblasts, immune cells, adipocytes, endothelial cells, as well as bone cells in distant sites of dissemination.

Cancer cells secrete biological factors to educate their neighboring cells toward an aggressive, pro-inflammatory, and pro-tumoral phenotype. In turn, cells of the TME release signals directed toward cancer cells to favor tumor growth, progression, dissemination, and treatment resistance. Interestingly, a cancer metabolic reprogramming is often involved in this pro-tumoral activity of TME cells.

This multifaceted crosstalk is mediated by different biological factors, such as cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, extracellular matrix remodeling enzymes, as well as by extracellular vesicles (EVs). Specifically, EVs serve as transporters of different bioactive cargos, including proteins, nucleic acids, miRNAs, and lipids, from parental to both neighboring and distant target cells to participate in the various steps of malignant tumor development and progression by triggering or suppressing different signaling pathways in recipient cells.

The vicious crosstalk between cancer cells and their neighboring cells in the TME is now considered not only a prognostic/predictive biomarker of tumor growth and progression, but, more importantly, an effective target for novel and valuable therapeutic strategies.

The aim of this Collection is to invite authors to contribute original research as well as review articles highlighting the current concepts of the molecular mechanisms involved in the communication between tumor cells and their microenvironment, paving the way toward more specific and personalized medicine for cancer patients.

Prof. Dr. Patrizia Limonta
Dr. Fabrizio Fontana
Collection Editors