The role of breast structure in tumor development (PNAS)

Why do some breast tumors grow aggressively while others grow slowly? In this study, researchers found that the stiffness of the cells in the area around an emerging tumor influences its ability to grow and invade the breast. Using a 3-D fabrication process, the researchers created artificial breast ducts containing normal breast cells and a single tumor cell. They found that regions characterized by stiffness among the normal cells were more likely to give rise to tumors that are aggressive and invasive, while regions that were less stiff gave rise to tumors that are less invasive.

Eline Boghaert, Jason P. Gleghorn, KangAe Lee, Nikolce Gjorevski, Derek C. Radisky, and Celeste M. Nelson. Host epithelial geometry regulates breast cancer
cell invasiveness. Published online before print November 12, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1118872109 PNAS November 12, 2012

Read the abstract.