Interactions between tumor cells and fibroblasts play a pivotal role in cancer development and progression. Indeed, the paracrine communication between these two cell types is known to have physiological effects that alter carcinogenic and metastatic potential. An often overlooked player in these interactions is the involvement of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The network of ECM proteins secreted from fibroblasts is reportedly altered with cancer initiation and progression, and in several cases has been associated with patient outcome. The androgen receptor (AR) is one such example and has been shown to be a dynamic and inducible regulator of ECM production. Contemporary assessment of dynamic multicellular interactions leading to cancer initiation and progression necessitates 3D in vitro modeling to better mimic the in vivo environment. In the current chapter, we describe some simple approaches to generate 3D models of fibroblast-produced ECM, how hormone manipulation of fibroblasts can lead to production of different ECMs, and how these ECM models can be used to test processes implicated in cancer progression and metastasis.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2018 Jan [Epub]
Damien A Leach, Grant Buchanan
Divisions of Medicine and Surgery, The Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia. ., Divisions of Medicine and Surgery, The Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia.