There is evidence that an aberrant tumour microenvironment (TME) facilitates cancer development, progression, and responses to treatment. While many of the mechanisms underlying the phenotype and cancer-promoting behaviour of the TME are unknown, epigenetic mechanisms in cancer cells and the TME are thought to play important roles. As a result, cancer profiling strategies for drug and biomarker development require a thorough understanding of both the epithelial tissue compartment and the TME. This review discusses recent advances in our understanding of how cancer epithelial cells interact with their microenvironment and how this knowledge can be exploited clinically.
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