Glycosylation and Integrin Regulation in Cancer

Integrins are transmembrane receptors coordinate the extracellular matrix (ECM)–cell and cell-cell interactions, signal transmission, gene expression, and cell function. The aberration of integrin function is one of the well-recognized mechanisms of cancer. The activity of integrins is strongly influenced by glycans through glycosylation events and the establishment of glycan-mediated interactions. Glycans represent a class of ubiquitous biomolecules that display an extraordinary complexity and diversity in both structure and function. Widely expressed both in the ECM and on the cell surface, they play a crucial role in mediating cell proliferation, survival, and metastasis during cancer.

The review article provides an overview of how both glycosylation of integrins and integrin interaction with the cancer glyco-microenvironment can regulate cancer progression.