Cancer cells have dramatic metabolic alterations that can give growth advantages but also cause changes in the extracellular environment, i.e. the tumor microenvironment. We used a multidisciplinary combination of computational and experimental methods to show that lactic acid accumulation can impair the survival of tumor-associated macrophages. We show using in vitro models that the decreased survival can lead to spatial patterns of macrophage localization resembling how tumor-associated macrophages distribute in real tumors. Spatial patterns can potentiate tumor growth, and thus understanding how they are formed may bring therapeutic insights.
Emergence of spatial structure in the tumor microenvironment due to the Warburg effect
Carlos Carmona-Fontaine, Vanni Buccia, Leila Akkari, Maxime Deforet, J. A. Joyce, and Joao B. Xavier. PNAS [PDF]