In addition to the well documented role of cytokines in mediating tissue-level interactions, it is now clear that matrix macromolecules fulfil a complementary regulatory function. Data highlighted in the present review extend the repertoire of matrix signalling mechanisms, (1) introducing the concept of 'matrikines', these defined as proteinase-generated fragments of matrix macromolecules that display cryptic bioactivities not manifested by the native, full-length form of the molecule, and (2) indicating that a previously identified motogenic factor (migration stimulating factor [MSF]) produced by foetal and cancer patient fibroblasts is a genetically generated truncated isoform of fibronectin, which displays bioactivities cryptic in all previously identified fibronectin isoforms. These observations are discussed in the context of the contribution of a 'foetal-like' stroma to the progression of breast cancer.
- Cancer progression
- Cell motility
- Epithelial-stromal interactions