Know thy neighbor: stromal cells can contribute oncogenic signals

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2001 Feb;11(1):54-9. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(00)00156-8.


Although the stroma within carcinogenic lesions is known to be supportive and responsive to tumors, new data increasingly show that the stroma also has a more active, oncogenic role in tumorigenesis. Stromal cells and their products can transform adjacent tissues in the absence of pre-existing tumor cells by inciting phenotypic and genomic changes in the epithelial cells. The oncogenic action of distinctive stromal components has been demonstrated through a variety of approaches, which provide clues about the cellular pathways involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Cell Transformation, Viral
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oncogenes*
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism
  • Stromal Cells / pathology*
  • Stromal Cells / physiology*


  • Carcinogens
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases