For years, researchers have been striving to unravel the detailed mysteries
of how healthy cells become cancerous. They continue to catalog numerous DNA
mutations in tumor cells that cause abnormal protein production, accelerated
cell growth, and a blatant disregard of normal cell-death pathways.
While these elements are clearly key steps in the progression from normalcy
to malignancy, it is becoming obvious that events occurring in the tissues
surrounding cancer cells play major roles as well. Recent work by several
research groups is uncovering intriguing evidence that a cancer cell's so-called
microenvironment is determining its tumorigenic potential.
Hampton T. Studies Show Tissues Surrounding Tumors Have a Role in Cancer Progression. JAMA. 2004;291(20):2417-2419. doi:10.1001/jama.291.20.2417