"Targeting tumor microenvironment as a new therapeutic strategy to fight cancer"
Sala de Juntas - Edificio Politécnico
Eva Galán Moya, SECTI Researcher, Regional Center for Biomedical Research, UCLM
The Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) hypothesis has changed the way we conceive cancer treatment. It postulates that cancers are organized into aberrant cell hierarchies in which a subset of parental CSCs, with unlimited potential to proliferate, gives rise to differentiated malignant cells, with limited capacity to grow. This CSC might be responsible for the initiation, recurrence and resistant to current treatments. It is generally admitted that CSC reside within niches, which include a vascular structure, which might be responsible of the regulation of stem cell renewal and fate. The organization of this niche most likely implies to control locally metabolic conditions, secreted protein concentrations, cell adhesion and communication to surrounding matrix and neighbouring cells. At the functional level, the stem cell niche might then regulate stem cell renewal and fate. In addition, blood vessel networks show anarchic, tortuous and leaky pattern within solid tumours, suggesting that the developmental process of angiogenesis failed in the tumour microenvironment. This aberrant architecture of tumour blood vessels may favour oxygenation of the tumour mass, inflammatory reactions, poor drug delivery and cancer cell dissemination. Resident endothelial cells (EC) are the first cell target for the formation of new blood vessels within the tumour mass, as they received pro-migratory, proliferative and survival signals. Existing works have identified CSC in close proximity to endothelial cells, and targeting the tumour vasculature in some cancer types depleted tumours from the self-renewing CSC sub-population. Then, targeting vasculature or other components within the tumour niche might represent a promising therapeutic target.