Bioengineering embryonic stem cell microenvironments for the study of breast cancer.

 Nov 08, 2011

Publication: International journal of molecular sciences

Breast cancer is the most prevalent disease amongst women worldwide and metastasis is the main cause of death due to breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer cells and embryonic stem (ES) cells display similar characteristics. However, unlike metastatic breast cancer cells, ES cells are nonmalignant. Furthermore, embryonic microenvironments have the potential to convert metastatic breast cancer cells into a less invasive phenotype. The creation of in vitro embryonic microenvironments will enable better understanding of ES cell-breast cancer cell interactions, help elucidate tumorigenesis, and lead to the restriction of breast cancer metastasis. In this article, we will present the characteristics of breast cancer cells and ES cells as well as their microenvironments, importance of embryonic microenvironments in inhibiting tumorigenesis, convergence of tumorigenic and embryonic signaling pathways, and state of the art in bioengineering embryonic microenvironments for breast cancer research. Additionally, the potential application of bioengineered embryonic microenvironments for the prevention and treatment of invasive breast cancer will be discussed.