Role of stromal myofibroblasts infiltrating colon cancer in tumor invasion

Pathol Res Pract. 1996 Jul;192(7):712-7. doi: 10.1016/S0344-0338(96)80093-8.


In the normal colon, myofibroblasts are closely apposed to colonocytes where they deposit type IV collagen, the main basement membrane component. In colon carcinomas, this epithelial-mesenchymal association is physically disrupted, leading to the production of an abnormal, type IV collagen defective, basement membrane. Tumor-infiltrating myofibroblasts are migratory cells that accumulate at the invasive front of the colorectal carcinomas. They produce lytic enzymes able to degrade the basement membrane surrounding tumor glands. They also participate in the synthesis of the extracellular matrix components of the tumor stroma, which could subsequently alter the adhesive and migratory properties of the epithelial colon cancer cells. These results suggest that tumor-infiltrating myofibroblasts play a role in the invasion and metastasis of colorectal tumor cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Smooth / cytology*
  • Muscle, Smooth / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Stromal Cells / pathology*