Kaur et al. published in 2018 an interesting article about the effect of extracellular matrix (ECM) on skin cancer and immunity: “Remodeling of the collagen matrix in aging skin promotes melanoma metastasis and affects immune cell motility”.
The aim of the study was to highlight ECM changes in the physical makeup of the aging skin and the subsequent effects on tumor-cell invasion and immune-cell infiltration.
They focused on HAPLN1, a cross-linking protein that stabilizes proteoglycan monomer aggregates with hyaluronic acid (HA). They specify that HA alterations have been shown to increase the ability of fibroblasts to contract collagen matrices, suggesting that changes in HAPLN1 could affect collagen cross-linking and ECM contractility.
They showed in this study that age-related changes in the ECM facilitate the migration of tumor cells but may also hamper immune cell infiltration. They identified a novel role for HAPLN1, showing that it can suppress invasion of melanoma cells in young skin, and that it is lost during aging, creating an invasion-permissive microenvironment.
In this way, understanding the physical changes in aging skin may provide avenues for more effective therapy for older patients with melanoma.
In this endeavor, HCS Pharma can provide you with BIOMIMESYS® matrices: they mimic the in vivo ECM composition and stiffness, and they allow to cocultivate cells (e.g. cancer cells and fibroblasts). For more information, please feel free to contact us.