Pathologic organ fibrosis is a condition that can affect all major tissues and is typically ascribed to the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix components, predominantly collagens. It typically leads to compromise of organ function and subsequent organ failure, and it is estimated that 45% of deaths in the developed world are linked to fibrotic disease. Fibrosis and cancer are known to be inextricably linked; however, we are only just beginning to understand the common and overlapping molecular pathways between the two. Here, we discuss what is known about the intersection of fibrosis and cancer, with a focus on cancer metastasis, and highlight some of the exciting new potential clinical targets that are emerging from analysis of the molecular pathways associated with these two devastating diseases.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.