Heterogeneity of cancer-associated fibroblasts: Opportunities for precision medicine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Despite marked development in cancer therapies during recent decades, the prognosis for advanced cancer remains poor. The conventional tumor–cell-centric view of cancer can only explain part of cancer progression, and thus a thorough understanding of the tumor microenvironment (TME) is crucial. Among cells within the TME, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are attracting attention as a target for cancer therapy. However, CAFs present a heterogeneous population of cells and more detailed classification of CAFs and investigation of functions of each subset is needed to develop novel CAF-targeted therapies. In this context, application of newly developed approaches to single-cell analysis has already made an impact on our understanding of the heterogeneity of CAFs. Here, we review the recent literature on CAF heterogeneity and function, and discuss the possibility of novel therapies targeting CAF subsets.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology


  • cancer progression, cancer-associated fibroblast, heterogeneity, single-cell RNA-sequencing, tumor microenvironment
Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Science
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Dec 23
Publication categoryResearch