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In recent years, a variety of experimental evidence has convincingly shown that progression of malignant tumors does not depend exclusively on cell-autonomous properties of the cancer cells, but can also be influenced by the tumor stroma. The concept that cancer cells are subjected to microenvironmental control has thus emerged as an important chapter in cancer biology. Recent findings have suggested an important role, in particular, for macrophages, endothelial cells, and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in tumor growth and progression. Numerous lines of evidence indicate that the bone marrow is the source, at least in part, of these cells. This chapter summarizes our current knowledge of how bone marrow contributes to the tumor stroma, with particular emphasis on CAFs. The potential role of hypoxia in modulating the differentiation and activity of CAFs, and the therapeutical implications of targeting CAFs for anticancer therapy are discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Top Microbiol Immunol

Publication Date





31 - 45


Animals, Cell Differentiation, Cell Hypoxia, Disease Progression, Fibroblasts, Humans, Neoplasms