Integrins in the Spotlight of Cancer

Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Dec 6;17(12):2037. doi: 10.3390/ijms17122037.


Integrins are heterodimeric cell surface receptors that bind to different extracellular ligands depending on their composition and regulate all processes which enable multicellular life. In cancer, integrins trigger and play key roles in all the features that were once described as the Hallmarks of Cancer. In this review, we will discuss the contribution of integrins to these hallmarks, including uncontrolled and limitless proliferation, invasion of tumor cells, promotion of tumor angiogenesis and evasion of apoptosis and resistance to growth suppressors, by highlighting the latest findings. Further on, given the paramount role of integrins in cancer, we will present novel strategies for integrin inhibition that are starting to emerge, promising a hopeful future regarding cancer treatment.

Keywords: angiogenesis; apoptosis; cancer; contact inhibition; integrins; invasion; locomotion; proliferation; telomerase.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / physiopathology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Integrins