A history of exploring cancer in context

Shelly Maman, Isaac P. Witz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The concept that progression of cancer is regulated by interactions of cancer cells with their microenvironment was postulated by Stephen Paget over a century ago. Contemporary tumour microenvironment (TME) research focuses on the identification of tumour-interacting microenvironmental constituents, such as resident or infiltrating non-tumour cells, soluble factors and extracellular matrix components, and the large variety of mechanisms by which these constituents regulate and shape the malignant phenotype of tumour cells. In this Timeline article, we review the developmental phases of the TME paradigm since its initial description. While illuminating controversies, we discuss the importance of interactions between various microenvironmental components and tumour cells and provide an overview and assessment of therapeutic opportunities and modalities by which the TME can be targeted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-376
Number of pages18
JournalNature Reviews Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


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