Nature Reviews Cancer 7, 139-147 (February 2007) | doi:10.1038/nrc2067

OpinionThe tumour microenvironment as a target for chemoprevention

Adriana Albini1 & Michael B. Sporn2  About the authors


New data indicate that primary dysfunction in the tumour microenvironment, in addition to epithelial dysfunction, can be crucial for carcinogenesis. These recent findings make a compelling case for targeting the microenvironment for cancer chemoprevention. We review new insights into the pathophysiology of the microenvironment and new approaches to control it with chemopreventive agents. The microenvironment of a cancer is an integral part of its anatomy and physiology, and functionally, one cannot totally dissociate this microenvironment from what have traditionally been called 'cancer cells'. Finally, we make suggestions for more effective clinical implementation of this knowledge in preventive strategies.

Author affiliations

  1. Adriana Albini is at the IRCCS Multimedica Science and Technology Park, Viale Fantoli 15/16, Milan, 20138, Italy.
  2. Michael B. Sporn is at the Dartmouth Medical School, Department of Pharmacology, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.

Correspondence to: Adriana Albini1 Email:

Correspondence to: Michael B. Sporn2 Email: