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01.12.2018 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 1/2018

Integrins as therapeutic targets in the organ-specific metastasis of human malignant melanoma

Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research > Ausgabe 1/2018
Ruixia Huang, Einar K. Rofstad


Integrins are a large family of adhesion molecules that mediate cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions. Among the 24 integrin isoforms, many have been found to be associated with tumor angiogenesis, tumor cell migration and proliferation, and metastasis. Integrins, especially αvβ3, αvβ5 and α5β1, participate in mediating tumor angiogenesis by interacting with the vascular endothelial growth factor and angiopoietin-Tie signaling pathways. Melanoma patients have a poor prognosis when the primary tumor has generated distant metastases, and the melanoma metastatic site is an independent predictor of the survival of these patients. Different integrins on the melanoma cell surface preferentially direct circulating melanoma cells to different organs and promote the development of metastases at specific organ sites. For instance, melanoma cells expressing integrin β3 tend to metastasize to the lungs, whereas those expressing integrin β1 preferentially generate lymph node metastases. Moreover, tumor cell-derived exosomes which contain different integrins may prepare a pre-metastatic niche in specific organs and promote organ-specific metastases. Because of the important role that integrins play in tumor angiogenesis and metastasis, they have become promising targets for the treatment of advanced cancer. In this paper, we review the integrin isoforms responsible for angiogenesis and organ-specific metastasis in malignant melanoma and the inhibitors that have been considered for the future treatment of metastatic disease.
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