Published data from our own and other laboratories have indicated that fibroblasts obtained from patients with different types of epithelial cancers commonly display aberrant (i.e. fetal-like or transformed) phenotypic characteristics. Previous interpretations of these results have tended to regard the study of fibroblasts as a convenient means to demonstrate genetic abnormalities also expressed in the target epithelial cell population and did not ascribe a particular causative role to fibroblast abnormalities in the genesis of neoplastic lesions. In this communication we present an alternative, but not mutually exclusive, hypothesis suggesting that aberrations expressed solely by fibroblasts may lead to the development of an epithelial tumour by virtue of a dysfunction in normal epithelial-mesenchymal interactions.
- Disease Susceptibility