Schwann Cells in Peripheral Cancers: Bystanders or Promoters?

Yurteri, U., Cifcibasi, K., Friess, H., Ceyhan, G. O., Istvanffy, R., and Demir, I. E. (2022). Adv Biol (Weinh) 6, e2200033. doi: 10.1002/adbi.202200033


The tumor microenvironment is subject to intense investigation in terms of its influence on tumorigenesis. Despite the fact that Schwann cells are cancer cells' early interaction partners, investigations on tumor progression and the molecular drivers of carcinogenesis do not place enough emphasis on them. Recent studies have shown that malignant cells and nerves interact on several levels during early carcinogenesis. For instance, the emergence of nerves in cancer, known as cancer neo-neurogenesis, is one important mechanism that contributes to cancer progression. Recent studies on Schwann cells brought the investigation of tumor-nerve interactions to a whole new level. Schwann cells make up the majority of glial cells in the peripheral nervous system, are outstandingly plastic cells, and serve a variety of roles in most organs. All these properties make Schwann cells excellent potential targets for tumor cells to exploit and turn them into promoters of carcinogenesis. In the present review, the distinctive features of Schwann cell-tumor cell interactions and the implications of this interaction on the tumor microenvironment are outlined. Further, this study points out the neglected aspects of Schwann cells in the tumor microenvironment and provides a potential new avenue for future research.