The stroma in solid tumors contains a variety of cellular phenotypes and signaling pathways associated with wound healing, leading to the concept that a tumor behaves as a wound that does not heal. Similarities between tumors and healing wounds include fibroblast recruitment and activation, extracellular matrix (ECM) component deposition, infiltration of immune cells, neovascularization, and cellular lineage plasticity. However, unlike a wound that heals, the edges of a tumor are constantly expanding. Cell migration occurs both inward and outward as the tumor proliferates and invades adjacent tissues, often disregarding organ boundaries. The focus of our review is cancer associated fibroblast (CAF) cellular heterogeneity and plasticity and the acellular matrix components that accompany these cells. We explore how similarities and differences between healing wounds and tumor stroma continue to evolve as research progresses, shedding light on possible therapeutic targets that can result in innovative stromal-based treatments for cancer.
Deshka S. Foster, R. Ellen Jones, Ryan C. Ransom, Michael T. Longaker, Jeffrey A. Norton