Tumour-stromal interactions. Integrins and cell adhesions as modulators of mammary cell survival and transformation

Breast Cancer Res. 2001;3(4):224-9. doi: 10.1186/bcr300. Epub 2001 Jun 14.


Stromal-epithelial interactions modulate mammary epithelial cell (MEC) growth and apoptosis by influencing cell adhesion and tissue organization. Perturbations in the mammary stroma and cell adhesion characterize breast tumors and underlie the altered tissue organization, disrupted tissue homeostasis and enhanced survival phenotype of the disease. Apoptosis resistance likely arises during malignant transformation via genetic and epigenetic modification of cell adhesion pathways induced by a changing tissue microenvironment. Acquisition of adhesion-linked survival networks that enhance MEC viability in the absence of basement membrane interactions probably promote malignant transformation, and may render breast tumors sufficiently resistant to exogenous apoptotic stimuli to generate multidrug resistance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Basement Membrane
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / pharmacology*
  • Cell Communication*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Survival*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Integrins / physiology*
  • Stromal Cells / pathology
  • Stromal Cells / physiology


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Integrins