Integrin signaling in cancer cell survival and chemoresistance

Chemother Res Pract. 2012;2012:283181. doi: 10.1155/2012/283181. Epub 2012 Apr 11.


Resistance to apoptosis and chemotherapy is a hallmark of cancer cells, and it is a critical factor in cancer recurrence and patient relapse. Extracellular matrix (ECM) via its receptors, the integrins, has emerged as a major pathway contributing to cancer cell survival and resistance to chemotherapy. Several studies over the last decade have demonstrated that ECM/integrin signaling provides a survival advantage to various cancer cell types against numerous chemotherapeutic drugs and against antibody therapy. In this paper, we will discuss the major findings on how ECM/integrin signaling protects tumor cells from drug-induced apoptosis. We will also discuss the potential role of ECM in malignant T-cell survival and in cancer stem cell resistance. Understanding how integrins and their signaling partners promote tumor cell survival and chemoresistance will likely lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies and agents for cancer treatment.