Traditionally, cancer studies have primarily focused on mutations that activate growth or survival pathways in susceptible pre-neoplastic/neoplastic cells. However, recent research has revealed a critical role for non-neoplastic cells within the tumor microenvironment in the process of cancer formation and progression. In addition, the existence of regional and developmental variations in susceptible cell types and supportive microenvironments support a model of tumorigenesis in which the dynamic symbiotic relationship between neoplastic and non-neoplastic cell types dictate where and when cancers form and grow. In this review, we highlight advances in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) genetically engineered mouse brain tumor (glioma) modeling to reveal how cellular and molecular heterogeneity in both the pre-neoplastic/neoplastic and non-neoplastic cellular compartments contribute to gliomagenesis and glioma growth.
- neurofibromatosis type 1