The role of the myofibroblast in tumor stroma remodeling

Cell Adh Migr. 2012 May-Jun;6(3):203-19. doi: 10.4161/cam.20377. Epub 2012 May 1.


Since its first description in wound granulation tissue, the myofibroblast has been recognized to be a key actor in the epithelial-mesenchymal cross-talk that plays a crucial role in many physiological and pathological situations, such as regulation of prostate development, ventilation-perfusion in lung alveoli or organ fibrosis. The presence of myofibroblasts in the stroma reaction to epithelial tumors is well established and many data are accumulating which suggest that the stroma compartment is an active participant in tumor onset and/or evolution. In this review we summarize the evidence in favor of this concept, the main mechanisms that regulate myofibroblast differentiation and function, as well as the biophysical and biochemical factors possibly involved in epithelial-stroma interactions, using liver carcinoma as main model, in view of achieving a better understanding of tumor progression mechanisms and of tools directed toward stroma as eventual therapeutic target.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cell Communication
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Matrix / pathology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Humans
  • Myofibroblasts / metabolism
  • Myofibroblasts / pathology
  • Myofibroblasts / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism
  • Stromal Cells / pathology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / physiology
  • Tumor Microenvironment*


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1