There is an unmet need to identify and validate tumor-specific therapeutic targets to enable more effective treatments for cancer. Heterogeneity in patient clinical characteristics as well as biological and genetic features of tumors present major challenges for the optimization of therapeutic interventions, including the development of novel and more effective precision medicine. The expression of keratin 17 (K17) is a hallmark of the most aggressive forms of cancer across a wide range of anatomical sites and histological types. K17 correlates with shorter patient survival, predicts resistance to specific chemotherapeutic agents, and harbors functional domains that suggest it could be therapeutically targeted. Here, we explore the role of K17 in the hallmarks of cancer and summarize evidence to date for K17-mediated mechanisms involved in each hallmark, elucidating functional roles that warrant further investigation to guide the development of novel therapeutic strategies.
©2021 The Authors; Published by the American Association for Cancer Research.