The Tissue Factor Pathway in Cancer: Overview and Role of Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans

Cancers (Basel). 2023 Feb 28;15(5):1524. doi: 10.3390/cancers15051524.


Historically, the only focus on tissue factor (TF) in clinical pathophysiology has been on its function as the initiation of the extrinsic coagulation cascade. This obsolete vessel-wall TF dogma is now being challenged by the findings that TF circulates throughout the body as a soluble form, a cell-associated protein, and a binding microparticle. Furthermore, it has been observed that TF is expressed by various cell types, including T-lymphocytes and platelets, and that certain pathological situations, such as chronic and acute inflammatory states, and cancer, may increase its expression and activity. Transmembrane G protein-coupled protease-activated receptors can be proteolytically cleaved by the TF:FVIIa complex that develops when TF binds to Factor VII (PARs). The TF:FVIIa complex can activate integrins, receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), and PARs in addition to PARs. Cancer cells use these signaling pathways to promote cell division, angiogenesis, metastasis, and the maintenance of cancer stem-like cells. Proteoglycans play a crucial role in the biochemical and mechanical properties of the cellular extracellular matrix, where they control cellular behavior via interacting with transmembrane receptors. For TFPI.fXa complexes, heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) may serve as the primary receptor for uptake and degradation. The regulation of TF expression, TF signaling mechanisms, their pathogenic effects, and their therapeutic targeting in cancer are all covered in detail here.

Keywords: cancer; platelets; proteoglycans; syndecans; tissue factor.

Publication types

  • Review