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Recently, it has become clearer that tumor plasticity increases the chance that cancer cells could acquire new mechanisms to escape immune surveillance, become resistant to conventional drugs, and spread to distant sites.Effectively, tumor plasticity drives adaptive response of cancer cells to hypoxia and nutrient deprivation leading to stimulation of neoangionesis or tumor escape. Therefore, tumor plasticity is believed to be a great contributor in recurrence and metastatic dissemination of cancer cells. Importantly, it could be an Achilles' heel of cancer if we could identify molecular mechanisms dictating this phenotype.The reactivation of stem-like signalling pathways is considered a great determinant of tumor plasticity; in addition, a key role has been also attributed to tumor microenvironment (TME). Indeed, it has been proved that cancer cells interact with different cells in the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM). Interestingly, well-established communication represents a potential allied in maintenance of a plastic phenotype in cancer cells supporting tumor growth and spread. An important signalling pathway mediating cancer cell-TME crosstalk is represented by the HGF/c-Met signalling.Here, we review the role of the HGF/c-Met signalling in tumor-stroma crosstalk focusing on novel findings underlying its role in tumor plasticity, immune escape, and development of adaptive mechanisms.

Citation

Alberto Zambelli, Giuseppe Biamonti, Angela Amato. HGF/c-Met Signalling in the Tumor Microenvironment. Advances in experimental medicine and biology. 2021;1270:31-44

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PMID: 33123991

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