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The Quarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular imaging 2010 June;54(3):244-8

Copyright © 2010 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The tumor microenvironment: biology of a complex cellular and tissue society

Albini A. 1, 2, Magnani E. 2, Noonan D. M. 3

1 MultiMedica Clinical Center, Castellanza, Varese, Italy; 2 Science and Technology Pole IRCCS MultiMedica, Milan, Italy; 3 Department of Experimental Medicin, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy


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The tumor microenvironment is a “complex society” of many cell types and their extracellular matrix. All these cell types and the matrix take part to the generation of a tumor “tissue”. It is well established that preneoplastic proliferating cells cannot give origin to a tumor without an appropriate blood supply. In fact, angiogenesis could be considered the rate limiting step of tumor growth. In this context microenvironment components play a pivotal role in the regulation of the angiogenic switch and in cancer progression. For these reasons the comprehension of biological and molecular mechanisms involved in the relationship between tumor cells and the microenvironment could unveil new therapeutic and preventive approaches to cancer. In this complex scenario molecular imaging of the microenvironment is crucial to dissect cellular and stromal dynamic contributions.

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