Cells, including cancer cells, communicate with their microenvironment via various types of membrane receptors. An important down-stream effect of such interactions is a change in the molecular phenotype of the cells. The microenvironment-driven molecular evolution of cancer cells may induce either growth arrest or death of the cells or alternatively, boost their malignancy phenotype. In this paper we summarize studies from our own laboratory on interactions of cancer cells with microenvironmental ligands via two types of receptors that are not commonly associated with tumour progression i.e. the receptor for the Fc portion of IgG, and Ly-6 proteins of mouse and human origin. We also review information on interactions of tumour-associated chemokines and chemokine receptors with the corresponding microenvironmental factors. We demonstrate how these interactions may drive the molecular evolution of tumour cells and discuss the possible impact of this evolution on tumour progression.
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