The role of fibronectin (FN) in tumorigenesis and malignant progression has been highly controversial. Cancerous FN plays a tumor-suppressive role, whereas it is pro-metastatic and associated with poor prognosis. Interestingly, FN matrix deposited in the tumor microenvironments (TMEs) promotes tumor progression but is paradoxically related to a better prognosis. Here, we justify how FN impacts tumor transformation and subsequently metastatic progression. Next, we try to reconcile and rationalize the seemingly conflicting roles of FN in cancer and TMEs. Finally, we propose future perspectives for potential FN-based therapeutic strategies.
Keywords: cancer metastasis; circulating tumor cells; epithelial–mesenchymal plasticity; extracellular matrix; fibronectin; hypoxia; pericellular fibronectin assembly; premetastatic niche; senescence; tumor suppression.