University of Oulu

Zeltz, C., Navab, R., Heljasvaara, R. et al. Integrin α11β1 in tumor fibrosis: more than just another cancer-associated fibroblast biomarker?. J. Cell Commun. Signal. 16, 649–660 (2022).

Integrin α11β1 in tumor fibrosis : more than just another cancer‑associated fibroblast biomarker?

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Author: Zeltz, Cédric1; Navab, Roya2; Heljasvaara, Ritva3;
Organizations: 1Department of Biomedicine, Matrix Biology Group, Centre for Cancer Biomarkers, University of Bergen, Jonas Lies vei 91, 5009, Bergen, Norway
2Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, M5G 1L7, Canada
3Oulu Center for Cell-Matrix Research, Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5G 1X8, Canada
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-06-28


There is currently an increased interest in understanding the role of the tumor microenvironment (TME) in tumor growth and progression. In this context the role of integrins in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) will need to be carefully re-evaluated. Fibroblast-derived cells are not only in the focus in tumors, but also in tissue fibrosis as well as in inflammatory conditions. The recent transcriptional profiling of what has been called “the pan-fibroblast cell lineage” in mouse and human tissues has identified novel transcriptional biomarker mRNAs encoding the secreted ECM proteins dermatopontin and collagen XV as well as the phosphatidylinositol-anchored membrane protein Pi16. Some of the genes identified in these fibroblasts scRNA-seq datasets will be useful for rigorous comparative characterizations of fibroblast-derived cell subpopulations. At the same time, it will be a challenge in the coming years to validate these transcriptional mRNA datasets at the protein-(expression) and at tissue-(distribution) levels and to find useful protein biomarker reagents that will facilitate fibroblast profiling at the cell level. In the current review we will focus on the role of the collagen-binding integrin α11β1 in CAFs, summarizing our own work as well as published datasets with information on α11 mRNA expression in selected tumors. Our experimental data suggest that α11β1 is more than just another biomarker and that it as a functional collagen receptor in the TME is playing a central role in regulating collagen assembly and matrix remodeling, which in turn impact tumor growth and metastasis.

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Series: Journal of cell communication and signaling
ISSN: 1873-9601
ISSN-E: 1873-961X
ISSN-L: 1873-9601
Volume: 16
Pages: 649 - 660
DOI: 10.1007/s12079-022-00673-3
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Bergen (incl Haukeland University Hospital). Supported by grants to Donald Gullberg from the Research Council of Norway (Norwegian Centre of Excellence grant, grants 223250) and Nasjonalföreningen for folkhelsen (Project 16216).
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2022. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit