Fibronectin as target for tumor therapy

Int J Cancer. 2006 Mar 15;118(6):1331-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21677.


During cancer progression, the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the tissue in which the tumor grows is extensively remodeled, both by degradation of preexisting ECM molecules and by the neosynthesis of ECM components, which in many cases are not present in the ECM of normal tissues. Fibronectin (FN), a class of high-molecular-weight adhesive glycoproteins, plays a prominent role in mediating ECM function, because of its high abundance and its interaction with cellular components. Furthermore, the generation of tumor-associated FN isoforms allows the development of specific ligands (e.g., antibodies), which can be used for the selective delivery of therapeutic agents to the tumor environment. In view of these considerations, it is not surprising that FN is being used as a target for biomolecular intervention, both for the development of inhibitory molecules that block the interaction of FN with integrins and other receptors on the cell surface, and for the development of ligand-based targeted imaging and therapeutic strategies. In this review, we briefly present the essential properties of FN, and we then focus on the therapeutic strategies that are currently in preclinical or clinical development and feature FN as a target, or that are based on FN fragments so as to promote tumor-growth inhibition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Fibronectins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Fibronectins / immunology
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism


  • Antibodies
  • Fibronectins