Understanding the impact of breast cancer cells/ fibroblasts co-culture on inducing M2 macrophages in a 3D in vitro model.
Breast cancer remains challenging to treat due to poor understanding of the complex crosstalk between the tumor microenvironment (TME) and cancer cells. As the most predominant component in TME, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play a key role in tumor progression. CAFs are also known to participate in activating the tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) into M2 macrophages which has pro-tumorigenic properties. What is still missing, however, is the interaction among cancer cells, CAFs, and the macrophages activation mechanisms. Thereby, a pre-established 3D co-culture in vitro model with breast cancer cells, CAFs, and monocytes was used to investigate the phenotypic changes of the monocytes.