Introduction: Tumour microenvironment and inflammation


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Fran Balkwill
Barts and the London School od Medicine and Dentistry, UK

Abstract

The mediators and cellular effectors of inflammation are important constituents of the local environment of tumours. In some types of cancer, inflammatory conditions are present before malignant change occurs but in other malignancies oncogenic change induces an inflammatory microenvironment that promotes the development of tumours.

Regardless of its origin, ‘smouldering’ inflammation in the tumour microenvironment has many tumour-promoting effects. It aids the proliferation and survival of malignant cells, promotes angiogenesis and metastasis, subverts the adaptive immune system, and alters responses to hormones and chemotherapeutic agents.

The molecular pathways of cancer-related inflammation are now being unravelled and this session will feature the latest information on transcription factors, miRNAs etc. We will also seek answers to some of the big translational questions in the field: what are the common features of cancer-related inflammation and what are the best therapeutic targets; how can we shift the balance between tumour-promoting and tumour-destructive inflammation?