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

19 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 - 2018

Publication series

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

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


  • Force
  • Mechanical stress
  • Morphodynamics


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