Extracellular matrix in tumours as a source of additional neoplastic lesions - a review

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The review describes the role of cells of extracellular matrix (ECM) as a source of neoplastic outgrowths additional to the original tumour. The cells undergo a spontaneous transformation or stimulation by the original tumour through intercellular signals, e.g. through Shh protein (sonic hedgehog). Additionally, cells of an inflammatory infiltrate, which frequently accompany malignant tumours and particularly carcinomas, may regulate tumour cell behaviour. This is either by restricting tumour proliferation or, inversely, by induction and stimulation of the proliferation of another tumour cell type, e.g. mesenchymal cells. The latter type of tumour may involve formation of histologically differentiated stromal tumours (GIST), which probably originate from interstitial cells of Cajal in the alimentary tract. Occasionally, e.g. in gastric carcinoma, proliferation involves lymphoid follicles and lymphocytes of GALT (gut-associated lymphoid tissue), which gives rise to lymphoma. The process is preceded by the earlier stage of intestinal metaplasia, or is induced by gastritis alone. This is an example of primary involvement of inflammatory infiltrate cells in neoplastic progression. Despite the numerous histogenetic classifications of tumours (zygotoma benignum et zygotoma malignum, or mesenchymomata maligna et mesenchymomata benigna), currently in oncological diagnosis the view prevails that the direction of tumour differentiation and its degree of histologic malignancy (grading) are more important factors than the histogenesis of the tumour.

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