Melanoma-stroma interactions: structural and functional aspects

Lancet Oncol. 2002 Jan;3(1):35-43. doi: 10.1016/s1470-2045(01)00620-9.


Cutaneous melanomas are notorious for their tendency to metastasise. Because the tumour microenvironment plays an important part in tumour development and progression, we review the structural and functional aspects of interactions between melanoma and the stroma. We emphasise fibrovascular patterns (both in uveal and cutaneous melanoma), cellular and extracellular composition of the stroma, and the molecules involved. Also, we discuss functional interactions, focusing on melanoma-fibroblast cross-talk by soluble factors and by direct cell-cell contact. On the basis of recent findings we propose that involvement of fibroblasts in melanoma-stromagenesis occurs through different stages: recruitment, activation, and conversion to myofibroblasts, or differentiation to fibrocytes. We reason that this involvement is topographically linked to different areas in and around the tumour, and hypothesise that stromal activation, as seen in tumor ulceration or immunological regression in melanoma, stimulates tumour progression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Corneal Stroma / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Epidermis / pathology
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Melanoma / physiopathology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Uveal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uveal Neoplasms / physiopathology