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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1586; doi:10.3390/ijms18071586

The Role of Tumor Microenvironment in Chemoresistance: To Survive, Keep Your Enemies Closer

1
Division of Medical Biochemistry and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine,Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town,Cape Town 7925, South Africa
2
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Cape Town Component,Wernher and Beit Building (South), UCT Medical Campus, Anzio Road, Observatory, Cape Town 7925,South Africa
3
Pharmacogenetics Research Group, Division of Human Genetics, Department of Pathology andInstitute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town,Cape Town 7925, South Africa
4
Batterjee Medical College, Prince Abdullah AlFiasal St, Obhur Al-Shamaliyah, Jeddah 23819, Saudi Arabia
5
Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Department of Immunology andSouth African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Extramural Unit for Stem Cell Research and Therapy,Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 16 July 2017 / Accepted: 19 July 2017 / Published: 21 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment)
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Abstract

Chemoresistance is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer and it continues to be a challenge in cancer treatment. Chemoresistance is influenced by genetic and epigenetic alterations which affect drug uptake, metabolism and export of drugs at the cellular levels. While most research has focused on tumor cell autonomous mechanisms of chemoresistance, the tumor microenvironment has emerged as a key player in the development of chemoresistance and in malignant progression, thereby influencing the development of novel therapies in clinical oncology. It is not surprising that the study of the tumor microenvironment is now considered to be as important as the study of tumor cells. Recent advances in technological and analytical methods, especially ‘omics’ technologies, has made it possible to identify specific targets in tumor cells and within the tumor microenvironment to eradicate cancer. Tumors need constant support from previously ‘unsupportive’ microenvironments. Novel therapeutic strategies that inhibit such microenvironmental support to tumor cells would reduce chemoresistance and tumor relapse. Such strategies can target stromal cells, proteins released by stromal cells and non-cellular components such as the extracellular matrix (ECM) within the tumor microenvironment. Novel in vitro tumor biology models that recapitulate the in vivo tumor microenvironment such as multicellular tumor spheroids, biomimetic scaffolds and tumor organoids are being developed and are increasing our understanding of cancer cell-microenvironment interactions. This review offers an analysis of recent developments on the role of the tumor microenvironment in the development of chemoresistance and the strategies to overcome microenvironment-mediated chemoresistance. We propose a systematic analysis of the relationship between tumor cells and their respective tumor microenvironments and our data show that, to survive, cancer cells interact closely with tumor microenvironment components such as mesenchymal stem cells and the extracellular matrix. View Full-Text
Keywords: chemoresistance; tumor microenvironment; tumor heterogeneity; mesenchymal stem cells; angiogenesis; extracellular matrix; clinical oncology chemoresistance; tumor microenvironment; tumor heterogeneity; mesenchymal stem cells; angiogenesis; extracellular matrix; clinical oncology
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Senthebane, D.A.; Rowe, A.; Thomford, N.E.; Shipanga, H.; Munro, D.; Mazeedi, M.A.M.A.; Almazyadi, H.A.M.; Kallmeyer, K.; Dandara, C.; Pepper, M.S.; Parker, M.I.; Dzobo, K. The Role of Tumor Microenvironment in Chemoresistance: To Survive, Keep Your Enemies Closer. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1586.

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