Extracellular Matrix and Connective Tissue Cells of the Tumor Microenvironment
Sammanfattning: In addition to malignant cells, solid tumors comprise supporting stromal tissue that consists of extra cellular matrix (ECM), connective tissue cells, inflammatory cells and blood vessels. The stromal compartment and the malignant cells together shape the tumor microenvironment that in turn determines tumor progression and efficacy of anti-tumor treatments. In this thesis, studies that investigate the roles of different kinds of interactions between tumor cells and stromal cells were undertaken. Further, growth factors that have important roles in interactions between tumor cells and stromal cells were investigated in a non-tumor environment. Tumor cells were found to modulate the response to the platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) by microvascular pericytes, a cell type found in the vasculature of solid tumors. The importance of this growth factor in biology of tumors has earlier been shown, but here it was shown that PDGF also modulate the ECM phenotype of solid tumors. The ECM of tumors treated with an inhibitor of PDGF receptor (PDGFR) signaling induced a less fibrotic collagen scaffold, which could explain how PDGFR inhibition in earlier reports lowered tumor interstitial fluid pressure (IFP). Lowering the normally high IFP in tumors increases efficacy of chemotherapy. The integrin ?V?3 is activated downstream of PDGF-B in acute inflammations, and this integrin is important for raising IFP in loose connective tissue in such conditions. However, in tumors we found that lack of the ?3 subunit lead to an increased IFP, which were attributed to a more fibrotic ECM phenotype. In addition to PDGF-B, transforming growth factor ? (TGF?) is an important growth factor in the biology of tumors. These two growth factors were separately overexpressed in mouse skin and they both induced an inflammatory response. Expressed in a tumor free context, they evoked a response that was in many ways reminiscent of what can be observed in the tumor microenvironment. This thesis contributes further understanding of how the complex tumor microenvironment affects the phenotype of solid tumors.
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