Research Papers:

Identification of integrin drug targets for 17 solid tumor types

Adith S. Arun, Clifford G. Tepper and Kit S. Lam _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:30146-30162. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25731

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Adith S. Arun1, Clifford G. Tepper1 and Kit S. Lam1

1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of California Davis School of Medicine, UC Davis NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA

Correspondence to:

Kit S. Lam, email: [email protected]

Keywords: computational genomics; precision medicine; integrins; transcriptomics; therapeutic target selection

Received: March 09, 2018     Accepted: June 12, 2018     Published: July 10, 2018


Integrins are contributors to remodeling of the extracellular matrix and cell migration. Integrins participate in the assembly of the actin cytoskeleton, regulate growth factor signaling pathways, cell proliferation, and control cell motility. In solid tumors, integrins are involved in promoting metastasis to distant sites, and angiogenesis. Integrins are a key target in cancer therapy and imaging. Integrin antagonists have proven successful in halting invasion and migration of tumors. Overexpressed integrins are prime anti-cancer drug targets. To streamline the development of specific integrin cancer therapeutics, we curated data to predict which integrin heterodimers are pausible therapeutic targets against 17 different solid tumors. Computational analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) gene expression data revealed a set of integrin targets that are differentially expressed in tumors. Filtered by FPKM (Fragments Per Kilobase of transcript per Million mapped reads) expression level, overexpressed subunits were paired into heterodimeric protein targets. By comparing the RNA-seq differential expression results with immunohistochemistry (IHC) data, overexpressed integrin subunits were validated. Biologics and small molecule drug compounds against these identified overexpressed subunits and heterodimeric receptors are potential therapeutics against these cancers. In addition, high-affinity and high-specificity ligands against these integrins can serve as efficient vehicles for delivery of cancer drugs, nanotherapeutics, or imaging probes against cancer.

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