The Multiple Layers of the Tumor Environment

Trends Cancer. 2018 Dec;4(12):802-809. doi: 10.1016/j.trecan.2018.10.002. Epub 2018 Oct 24.


The notion of tumor microenvironment (TME) has been brought to the forefront of recent scientific literature on cancer. However, there is no consensus on how to define and spatially delineate the TME. We propose that the time is ripe to go beyond an all-encompassing list of the components of the TME, and to construct a multilayered view of cancer. We distinguish six layers of environmental interactions with the tumor and show that they are associated with distinct mechanisms, and ultimately with distinct therapeutic approaches.

Keywords: angiogenesis; immune system; niche; tumor microenvironment; tumor organismal environment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Tumor Microenvironment*