In 10 seconds? Cancerous cells frequently grow in stiffcasings of a kind of connective tissue called fibrous stroma. While fibrous stroma was long thought to be an innocent bystander in cancer, researchers have revealed it might actually contribute to cancerous growth and progression–opening up new therapeutic windows for patients.

So fibrous stroma is different from cancerous tissue? Cancers are usually defined by the tissues they originate from (like breast, lung, prostate, etc), but tumors consist of a diverse community of cell types. If we liken tumors to a building, the cancerous cells are the bricks and the fibrous stroma is the framework and mortar that binds it together and gives it structure. As such, fibrous stroma is what makes many cancers (generally carcinomas) hard and lumpy.

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