- Human pathology

Home > G. Tumoral pathology > tumoral stroma

tumoral stroma

Monday 28 February 2005

Definition: All tumors, benign and malignant, have two basic components:
- (1) proliferating neoplastic cells that constitute their parenchyma
- (2) supportive stroma made up of connective tissue and blood vessels.

Although parenchymal cells represent the proliferating "cutting edge" of neoplasms and so determine their behavior and pathologic consequences, the growth and evolution of neoplasms are critically dependent on their stroma. An adequate stromal blood supply is requisite, and the stromal connective tissue provides the framework for the parenchyma.

In addition, there is cross-talk between tumor cells and stromal cells that appears to directly influence the growth of tumors. In some tumors, the stromal support is scant and so the neoplasm is soft and fleshy.

Sometimes the parenchymal cells stimulate the formation of an abundant collagenous stroma, referred to as desmoplasia. Some tumors-for example, some cancers of the female breast-are stony hard or scirrhous. The nomenclature of tumors is, however, based on the parenchymal component.


- Micrograph of loose, moderate and dense desmoplastic stroma in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Types - Examples

- lymphocytic stroma
- granulomatous stroma (ex : seminoma )
- fibrous stroma / fibroblastic stroma

- myxoid stroma
- myxedematous stroma
- edematous stroma

See also

- tumoral stromal cells


- Hu M, Yao J, Cai L, Bachman KE, van den Brule F, Velculescu V, Polyak K. Distinct epigenetic changes in the stromal cells of breast cancers. Nat Genet. 2005 Aug;37(8):899-905. PMID: 16007089

- Bhowmick NA, Moses HL. Tumor-stroma interactions. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2005 Feb;15(1):97-101. PMID: 15661539