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Semin Cancer Biol. 2019 Jul 20. pii: S1044-579X(19)30041-0. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2019.07.012. [Epub ahead of print]

Role of cell surface proteoglycans in cancer immunotherapy.

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Unidad de Investigación en Virología y Cáncer, Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez, C.P. 06720, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Münster University Hospital, Münster, Germany. Electronic address:


Over the past few decades, understanding how tumor cells evade the immune system and their communication with their tumor microenvironment, has been the subject of intense investigation, with the aim of developing new cancer immunotherapies. The current therapies against cancer such as monoclonal antibodies against checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive T-cell transfer, cytokines, vaccines, and oncolytic viruses have managed to improve the clinical outcome of the patients. However, in some tumor entities, the response is limited and could benefit from the identification of novel therapeutic targets. It is known that tumor-extracellular matrix interplay and matrix remodeling are necessary for anti-tumor and pro-tumoral immune responses. Proteoglycans are dominant components of the extracellular matrix and are a highly heterogeneous group of proteins characterized by the covalent attachment of a specific linear carbohydrate chain of the glycosaminoglycan type. At cell surfaces, these molecules modulate the expression and activity of cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, adhesion molecules, and function as signaling co-receptors. By these mechanisms, proteoglycans influence the behavior of cancer cells and their microenvironment during the progression of solid tumors and hematopoietic malignancies. In this review, we discuss why cell surface proteoglycans are attractive pharmacological targets in cancer, and we present current and recent developments in cancer immunology and immunotherapy utilizing proteoglycan-targeted strategies.


Cancer; Extracellular matrix; Immunotherapy; Inflammation; Proteoglycan

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