Solid Tumors in Living Color

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Science  24 Oct 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5901, pp. 506
DOI: 10.1126/science.322.5901.506a

The behavior of tumors is profoundly influenced by the microenvironment in which they grow. In addition to diffusible extracellular factors, this environment harbors a complex and dynamic population of stromal cells, including fibroblasts and a variety of immune cells. Because different types of stromal cells can have opposing effects on tumor progression and responses to therapy, it is important to understand how each cell type behaves in actively growing tumors.

Egeblad et al. have combined confocal microscopy with multicolor imaging techniques to record in living mice the movement and localization patterns of tumor-infiltrating stromal cells during a 12-hour period. One feature shared by several stromal cell types was greater motility at the tumor periphery than within the tumor mass. Regulatory T cells were found to migrate near blood vessels, and their movement was sensitive to tumor oxygen levels; in contrast, the movement of myeloid cells (the most heterogeneous group of stromal cells) was insensitive to oxygen, and their localization patterns and migration rates varied according to cell-surface marker expression, probably reflecting important functional differences. By helping to define the contributions of specific stromal cells to tumor growth, this imaging technology may lead to more effective therapies. — PAK

Disease Models Mech. 1, 155 (2008).

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