Part of the book: Myeloid Leukemia
Cancer cells, including leukemia cells, reside in a complex microenvironment, which influences biology and activity of the cells. The protective role of bone marrow stromal cells is already commonly recognized. Remodeling of stroma cell functions by leukemia cells is also well documented. In this respect, different routes of interactions were defined, such as direct cell-cell interactions or indirect cross talk, by release of soluble factors or vesicular particles containing proteins, RNAs and other molecules. Since intercellular communication seems to play a role in various biological processes, it might be important to conduct studies in co-culture systems, which at least mimic partially more physiological conditions, and enables this intercellular exchange to occur. Thus, it is crucial to improve analytical methods of investigation of co-cultured cells, to study their interactions and so to understand biology of leukemia in order to understand molecular mechanisms and offer novel therapeutic strategies. The present chapter outlines the importance of modern, multiparameter flow cytometry methods, which allow to analyze interactions between different types of cells within the leukemia microenvironment. Importantly, the proposed experimental setups can be easily transformed to study different cell types and different biological systems.