Research Papers:

The role of nerve microenvironment for neurofibroma development

Chung-Ping Liao, Sanjay Pradhan, Zhiguo Chen, Amish J. Patel, Reid C. Booker and Lu Q. Le _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:61500-61508. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11133

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Chung-Ping Liao1, Sanjay Pradhan1, Zhiguo Chen1, Amish J. Patel1, Reid C. Booker1, Lu Q. Le1,2,3

1Department of Dermatology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA

2Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA

3UTSW Neurofibromatosis Clinic, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA

Correspondence to:

Lu Q. Le, email: [email protected]

Keywords: neurofibromatosis, neurofibroma, tumor microenvironment, peripheral nerve sheath tumor, NF1

Received: May 13, 2016     Accepted: July 28, 2016     Published: August 9, 2016


Deregulation of RAS signaling in Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) results in the development of multiple neurofibromas, complex tumor of the peripheral nerves with no effective medical treatment. There is increasing evidences that neurofibroma initiates through loss of NF1 function in the Schwann cell lineage, followed by a cascade of interactions with other cell types in the surrounding tumor microenvironment. In NF1 patients, neurofibromas always develop along peripheral nerves and do not migrate to distant organs, including the central nervous system. In this study, we sought to identify the contributions of these peripheral nerves in neurofibroma formation. Using in vivo and in vitro three-dimensional (3D) culturing system, we show that peripheral nerves are absolutely required for neurofibroma tumorigenesis and report a novel 3D skin raft culture system for neurofibroma formation in vitro to decipher tumor pathogenesis. This interaction between neoplastic Schwann cells and their surrounding neural microenvironment has important implications for understanding early cellular events that dictate tumorigenesis. It also provides fertile ground for the elucidation of intrinsic and extrinsic factors within the nerve microenvironment that likely play essential roles in neurofibroma development and, therefore, viable therapeutic targets in neurofibroma therapy.

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