Assessment of tumor microenvironment in gastric adenocarcinoma

Vol. 64 No. 2, 2023


Marius Ionut Stancu, Alexandru Giubelan, George Mitroi, Anca-Maria Istrate-Ofiteru, George Popescu, Sorina Octavia Hontaru, Oana Badea-Voiculescu, Denisa Floriana Vasilica Pirscoveanu, Stelian Stefanita Mogoanta, Laurentiu Mogoanta

Gastric cancer (GC), despite the current possibilities of early diagnosis and curative treatment, remains a major public health problem, being one of the main causes of cancer, due to its detection in advanced stages. Screening programs applied in Western countries led to low incidence rates in these countries. Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection is considered to be the highest risk factor for the onset of GC because it causes chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa and damages hydrochloric acid secretory glands, eventually leading to atrophic gastritis, which has a potential to progress to GC. In our study, we aimed at assessing the tumor microenvironment in gastric adenocarcinomas as approximately 90% of GCs are adenocarcinomas. Our study showed that the tumor microenvironment has an extremely complex morphological structure, totally different from the microscopic structure of the gastric wall, consisting of stromal cells, lymphocytes, plasma cells, macrophages, blood vessels, collagen fibers, extracellular connective matrix, other cells. The tumor microenvironment presents phenotypic, cellular and molecular heterogeneity; therefore, the microscopic aspect differs from one tumor to another and even from one region to another in the same tumor. Poorly or moderately differentiated adenocarcinomas show a more intense desmoplastic reaction than well-differentiated ones. Alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA)-positive stromal cells (tumor-associated fibroblasts) and tumor macrophages were the most numerous cells of the tumor microenvironment. The tumor microenvironment is the result of cooperation between tumor cells, cancer-associated fibroblasts, immune system cells and blood vessels. It allows tumor cells to multiply, grow and metastasize.

Corresponding author: Stelian Stefanita Mogoanta, Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:; George Mitroi, Associate Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:

DOI: 10.47162/RJME.64.2.16 Download PDF
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