Rubens BEGAJ

The role of the microenvironment in colorectal cancer: a focus on cancer-associated fibroblasts
Colorectal cancer (CRC) represents the second most common type of cancer in Luxembourg (GLOBACON Luxembourg 2018) and the second cause of cancer related deaths in 2020 (WHO). Patients classified in the Consensus Molecular Subtype 4 subgroup (CMS4), representing roughly 23% of all CRC patients, have significant worst relapse-free and overall survival associated with a higher risk for metastasis dissemination compared to other subtypes. CMS4 is characterized by an important stromal component (J.Guinney et al.2015). As fibroblasts are one major cell population within the stroma, we decided to investigate the role of CAFs and their different subtypes in CRC progression. We are using state of the art organotypic 3D in vitro models with in vivo mouse models and an exceptional collection of primary cell pairs isolated directly from patient tumor samples to identify autocrine signaling of CAFs but also cross talk signaling between CAFs and tumor cells and CAFs and immune cells.

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