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.
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