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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Immunology - Molecular Biology - Oncology - Physiology

Feedback within the Inter-Cellular Communication and Tumorigenesis in Carcinomas
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Author: Felix Rückert et al.

by Felix Rückert, Robert Grützmann, Christian Pilarsky

The classical somatic mutation theory (SMT) of carcinogenesis and metastasis postulates that malignant transformation occurs in cells that accumulate a sufficient amount of mutations in the appropriate oncogenes and/or tumor suppressor genes. These mutations result in cell-autonomous activation of the mutated cell and a growth advantage relative to neighboring cells. However, the SMT cannot completely explain many characteristics of carcinomas. Contrary to the cell-centered view of the SMT with respect to carcinogenesis, recent research has revealed evidence that the tumor microenvironment plays a role in carcinogenesis as well. In this review, we present a new model that accommodates the role of the tumor microenvironment in carcinogenesis and complements the classical SMT. Our “feedback” model emphasizes the role of an altered spatiotemporal communication between epithelial and stromal cells during carcinogenesis: a dysfunctional intracellular signaling in tumorigenic epithelial cells leads to inappropriate cellular responses to stimuli from associated stromal or inflammatory cells. Thus, a positive feedback loop of the information flow between parenchymal and stromal cells results. This constant communication between the stromal cells and the tumor cells causes a perpetually activated state of tumor cells analogous to resonance disaster.
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