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Interstitial fluid flow in cancer: implications for disease progression and treatment

Authors Munson J, Shieh A

Received 3 April 2014

Accepted for publication 26 May 2014

Published 19 August 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 317—328

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S65444

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Jennifer M Munson,1 Adrian C Shieh2

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 2School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Abstract: As cancer progresses, a dynamic microenvironment develops that creates and responds to cellular and biophysical cues. Increased intratumoral pressure and corresponding increases in interstitial flow from the tumor bulk to the healthy stroma is an observational hallmark of progressing cancers. Until recently, the role of interstitial flow was thought to be mostly passive in the transport and dissemination of cancer cells to metastatic sites. With research spanning the past decade, we have seen that interstitial flow has a promigratory effect on cancer cell invasion in multiple cancer types. This invasion is one mechanism by which cancers can resist therapeutics and recur, but the role of interstitial flow in cancer therapy is limited to the understanding of transport of therapeutics. Here we outline the current understanding of the role of interstitial flow in cancer and the tumor microenvironment through cancer progression and therapy. We also discuss the current role of fluid flow in the treatment of cancer, including drug transport and therapeutic strategies. By stating the current understanding of interstitial flow in cancer progression, we can begin exploring its role in therapeutic failure and treatment resistance.

Keywords: tumor microenvironment, interstitial flow, therapeutics, invasion

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