Tumor barrier function in carcinoma represents a major challenge to treatment and is therefore an attractive target for increasing drug delivery. Variables related to tumor barrier include aberrant blood vessels, high interstitial fluid pressure, and the composition and structure of the extracellular matrix. One of the proteins associated with dense extracellular matrices is fibromodulin, a collagen fibrillogenesis modulator expressed in tumor stroma but scarce in normal loose connective tissues. Here, we investigated the effects of fibromodulin on stroma ECM in a syngeneic murine colon carcinoma model. We show that fibromodulin deficiency decreased collagen fibril thickness but glycosaminoglycan content and composition were unchanged. Furthermore, vascular density, pericyte coverage and macrophage amount were unaffected. Fibromodulin can therefore be a unique effector of dense collagen matrix assembly in tumor stroma and, without affecting other major matrix components or the cellular composition, can function as a main agent in tumor barrier function.
- Cell- och molekylärbiologi
- Cancer och onkologi