Collagen VI is a widely distributed extracellular matrix protein highly expressed in a variety of cancers that favors tumor growth and progression. A growing number of studies indicate that collagen VI directly affects malignant cells by acting on the Akt-GSK-3β-β-catenin-TCF/LEF axis, enhancing the production of protumorigenic factors and inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Moreover, it affects the tumor microenvironment by increasing the recruitment of macrophages and endothelial cells, thus promoting tumor inflammation and angiogenesis. Furthermore, collagen VI promotes chemotherapy resistance and can be regarded as a potential biomarker for cancer diagnosis. Collectively, these findings strongly support a role for collagen VI as an important regulator in tumors and provide new targets for cancer therapies.
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