Engineering the Extracellular Matrix to Model the Evolving Tumor Microenvironment

iScience. 2020 Oct 27;23(11):101742. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101742. eCollection 2020 Nov 20.


Clinical evidence supports a role for the extracellular matrix (ECM) in cancer risk and prognosis across multiple tumor types, and numerous studies have demonstrated that individual ECM components impact key hallmarks of tumor progression (e.g., proliferation, migration, angiogenesis). However, the ECM is a complex network of fibrillar proteins, glycoproteins, and proteoglycans that undergoes dramatic changes in composition and organization during tumor development. In this review, we will highlight how engineering approaches can be used to examine the impact of changes in tissue architecture, ECM composition (i.e., identity and levels of individual ECM components), and cellular- and tissue-level mechanics on tumor progression. In addition, we will discuss recently developed methods to model the ECM that have not yet been applied to the study of cancer.

Keywords: Cancer; Tissue Engineering.

Publication types

  • Review