Seed in soil, with an epigenetic view

Huey Jen L. Lin, Tao Zuo, Jennifer R. Chao, Zhengang Peng, Lisa K. Asamoto, Sonya S. Yamashita, Tim H.M. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


It is becoming increasingly evident that discrete genetic alterations in neoplastic cells alone cannot explain multistep carcinogenesis whereby tumor cells are able to express diverse phenotypes during the complex phases of tumor development and progression. The epigenetic model posits that the host microenvironment exerts an initial, inhibitory constraint on tumor growth that is followed by acceleration of tumor progression through complex cell-matrix interactions. This review emphasizes the epigenetic aspects of breast cancer development in light of such interactions between epithelial cells ("seed") and the tumor microenvironment ("soil"). Our recent research findings suggest that epigenetic perturbations induced by the tumor microenvironment may play a causal role in promoting breast cancer development. It is believed that abrogation of these initiators could offer a promising therapeutic strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)920-924
Number of pages5
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Chromatin remodeling
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Stromal fibroblast
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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