5 years ago

Beyond adhesion: emerging roles for integrins in control of the tumor microenvironment [version 1; referees: 4 approved]

Whitney Longmate, C Michael DiPersio
While integrins were originally discovered as cell adhesion receptors, recent studies have reinforced the concept that integrins have central roles in cancer that extend far beyond controlling cell adhesion and migration. Indeed, as transmembrane cell surface receptors that occupy a critical position at the interface of cellular and extracellular interactions and are capable of both “inside-out” and “outside-in” signaling, integrins are uniquely poised to regulate the cell’s ability to promote, sense, and react to changes in the tumor microenvironment. Moreover, integrins are present on all cell types in the tumor microenvironment, and they have important roles in regulating intercellular communication. Decades of promising pre-clinical studies have implicated certain integrins as attractive therapeutic targets in the cancer clinic. Nevertheless, results of the few clinical trials that target integrins in cancer have thus far been disappointing. Importantly, these clinical failures likely reflect the emerging complexity of individual and combinatorial integrin function within both tumor cells and other cell types of the tumor microenvironment, together with a need to explore integrin-targeting agents not just as monotherapies but also as adjuvants to more conventional radiotherapies or chemotherapies. In this review, we will examine recent advances toward understanding how integrins regulate cancer progression, including their roles in intercellular communication and modulation of the tumor microenvironment. Additionally, we will discuss factors that underlie the limited efficacy of current efforts to target integrins in the cancer clinic as well as potential strategies to overcome these challenges.

Publisher URL: https://f1000research.com/articles/6-1612/v1

DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.11877.1

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