The CCL20-CCR6 Axis in Cancer Progression

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jul 22;21(15):5186. doi: 10.3390/ijms21155186.


Chemokines, which are basic proteins that exert their effects via G protein-coupled receptors and a subset of the cytokine family, are mediators deeply involved in leukocyte migration during an inflammatory reaction. Chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 20 (CCL20), also known as macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-3α, liver activation regulated chemokine (LARC), and Exodus-1, is a small protein that is physiologically expressed in the liver, colon, and skin, is involved in tissue inflammation and homeostasis, and has a specific receptor C-C chemokine receptor 6 (CCR6). The CCL20-CCR6 axis has long been known to be involved in inflammatory and infectious diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and human immunodeficiency virus infections. Recently, however, reports have shown that the CCL20-CCR6 axis is associated with several cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer, and kidney cancer. The CCL20-CCR6 axis promotes cancer progression directly by enhancing migration and proliferation of cancer cells and indirectly by remodeling the tumor microenvironment through immune cell control. The present article reviewed the role of the CCL20-CCR6 axis in cancer progression and its potential as a therapeutic target.

Keywords: CCL20-CCR6 axis; cancer progression; chemokines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Chemokine CCL20 / metabolism
  • Chemokines / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Receptors, CCR6 / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • Tumor Microenvironment / immunology*


  • CCR6 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL20
  • Chemokines
  • Receptors, CCR6