Extracellular matrix stiffness exists in a feedback loop that drives tumor progression

Allison K. Simi, Mei Fong Pang, Celeste M. Nelson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations


Cells communicate constantly with their surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) to maintain homeostasis, using both mechanical and chemical signals. In cancer, abnormal signaling leads to stiffening of the ECM. A stiff microenvironment affects many aspects of the cell, including internal molecular signaling as well as behaviors such as motility and proliferation. Thus, cells and ECM interact in a feedback loop to drive matrix deposition and cross-linking, which alter the mechanical properties of the tissue. Stiffer tissue enhances the invasive potential of a tumor and decreases therapeutic efficacy. This chapter describes how specific molecular effects caused by an abnormally stiff tissue drive macroscopic changes that help determine disease outcome. A complete understanding may foster the generation of new cancer therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


  • Force
  • Mechanical stress
  • Morphodynamics


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