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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tissue Elasticity Bridges Cancer Stem Cells to the Tumor Microenvironment Through microRNAs: Implications for a "Watch-and-Wait" Approach to Cancer.

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Targeting the tumor microenvironment (TME) through which cancer stem cells (CSCs) crosstalk for cancer initiation and progression, may open new treatments different from those centered on the original hallmarks of cancer genetics thereby implying a new approach for suppression of TME driven activation of CSCs. Cancer is dynamic, heterogeneous, evolving with the TME and can be influenced by tissue-specific elasticity. One of the mediators and modulators of the crosstalk between CSCs and mechanical forces is miRNA, which can be developmentally regulated, in a tissue- and cellspecific manner.

Here, based on our previous data, we provide a framework through which such gene expression changes in response to external mechanical forces can be understood during cancer progression. Recognizing the ways mechanical forces regulate and affect intracellular signals with applications in cancer stem cell biology. Such TME-targeted pathways shed new light on strategies for attacking cancer stem cells with fewer side effects than traditional gene-based treatments for cancer, requiring a "watchand- wait" approach. We attempt to address both normal brain microenvironment and tumor microenvironment as both works together, intertwining in pathology and physiology - a balance that needs to be maintained for the "watch-and-wait" approach to cancer.

This review connected the subjects of tissue elasticity, tumor microenvironment, epigenetic of miRNAs, and stem-cell biology that are very relevant in cancer research and therapy. It attempts to unify apparently separate entities in a complex biological web, network, and system in a realistic and practical manner, i.e., to bridge basic research with clinical application.

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