This lecture will describe the tumor microenvironment, beginning with the mechanisms that lead to the creation of a tumor niche and continuing through the steps that allow it to evolve to favor tumor growth and dissemination. The tumor microenvironment refers to the complex ecosystem in which tumor cells reside and interact. The key take-home messages in this lecture are that (1) Tumors are tissues, and the temporal and spatial organization of those tissues is a critical determinant of tumor biological behavior. (2) Mutations of driver genes are essential events required to initiate tumors (and can be unique to tumors, individuals, and/or species), but ultimately, selective pressures to establish a niche and form a new, organized tissue within the constraints of its anatomical location are critical determinants of tumor progression. And finally, (3) strategies to detect and disrupt the formation of the tumor microenvironment provide a new frontier for safe and effective cancer treatment, control, and prevention.Learning Objectives
- Learners will have an improved understanding of the formation of the tumor niche and the evolution of the tumor microenvironment.
- Learners will recognize that natural selection dictates the evolution towards convergent molecular programs, regardless of mutational drivers, to create predictable tumor phenotypes.
- Learners will appreciate opportunities for therapies directed towards the tumor microenvironment to more effectively manage malignant cancers.
RACE Application Status
This module has been submitted and approved for 1.0 hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE approval.
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