Fibrocytes in the Tumor Microenvironment
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Tumors have long been compared to chronic wounds that do not heal, since they share many of the same molecular and cellular processes. In normal wounds, healing processes lead to restoration of cellular architecture, while in malignant tumors, these healing processes become dysregulated and contribute to growth and invasion of neoplastic cells into the surrounding tissues. Fibrocytes are fibroblast-like cells that differentiate from bone marrow-derived CD14+ circulating monocytes and aid wound healing. Although most monocytes will differentiate into macrophages after extravasating into a tissue, signals present in a wound environment can cause some monocytes to differentiate into fibrocytes. The fibrocytes secrete matrix proteins and inflammatory cytokines, activate local fibroblasts to proliferate and increase extracellular matrix production, and promote angiogenesis, and because fibrocytes are contractile, they also help wound contraction. There is now emerging evidence that fibrocytes are present in the tumor microenvironment, attracted by the chronic tissue damage and cytokines from both cancer cells and other immune cells. Fibrocytes may aid in the survival and spread of neoplastic cells, so these wound-healing cells may be a promising target for anticancer research in future studies.
author list (cited authors)
Roife, D., Fleming, J. B., & Gomer, R. H.