Figure 1: Schematic outline of the stromal-epithelial cross-talk in the breast microenvironment. On the left-hand side of the diagram within the blue bubble is depicted the normal constituents of the stroma that includes blood vessels, basement membrane, myofibroblasts, extracellular matrix, fibroblasts, inflammatory/immune cells smooth muscle cells and adipose cells. On the right-side within the pink bubble is the normal breast epithelial cell illustrating the traditionally-held stepwise linear progression to breast cancer. The central ‘ven’ of these bubbles is the pictorial representation of the stromal-epithelial cross-talk between the nine proteins (p53, Ki67, nestin, CD31, TAG72, laminin,ErbB2, CD10, Bcl-2) that were studied. The incipient factors that modulate the microenvironment such as oxidative stress, tissue hypoxia, nutrient deprivation, and pressure/pH changes are figuratively represented at the outskirts of the ‘ven’.