Int J Biol Sci 2018; 14(14):2083-2093. doi:10.7150/ijbs.25720


Effect of Stromal Cells in Tumor Microenvironment on Metastasis Initiation

Sen Guo, Chu-Xia Deng

Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau, Macau SAR, China


The cellular environment where tumor cells reside is called the tumor microenvironment (TME), which consists of borders, blood vessels, lymph vessels, extracellular matrix (ECM), stromal cells, immune/inflammatory cells, secreted proteins, RNAs and small organelles. By dynamically interacting with tumor cells, stromal cells participate in all stages of tumor initiation, progression, metastasis, recurrence and drug response, and consequently, affect the fate of patients. During the processes of tumor evolution and metastasis initiation, stromal cells in TME also experience some changes and play roles in both the suppression and promotion of metastasis, while the overall function of stromal cells is beneficial for cancer cell survival and movement. In this review, we examine the effects of stromal cells in TME on metastasis initiation, including angiogenesis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasion. We also highlight functions of proteins, RNAs and small organelles secreted by stromal cells in their influences on multiple stages of tumor metastasis.

Keywords: TME, Stromal cells, Metastasis Initiation, Breast Cancer

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How to cite this article:
Guo S, Deng CX. Effect of Stromal Cells in Tumor Microenvironment on Metastasis Initiation. Int J Biol Sci 2018; 14(14):2083-2093. doi:10.7150/ijbs.25720. Available from