The emerging role of Snail1 in the tumor stroma
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The transcription factor Snail1 leads to the epithelial–mesenchymal transition by repressing the adherent and tight junctions in epithelial cells. This process is related to an increase of cell migratory and mesenchymal properties during both embryonic development and tumor progression. Although Snail1 expression is very limited in adult animals, emerging evidence has placed Snail at the forefront of medical science. As a transcriptional repressor, Snail1 confers cancer stem cell-like traits on tumor cells and promotes drug resistance, tumor recurrence and metastasis. In this review, we summarize recent reports that suggest the pro-tumorigenic roles of Snail1 expression in tumor stroma. The crosstalk between tumor and stromal cells mediated by Snail1 regulates paracrine communication, pro-tumorigenic abilities of cancer cells, extracellular matrix characteristics and mesenchymal differentiation in cancer stem cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts. Therefore, understanding the regulation and functional roles of Snail1 in the tumor microenvironment will provide us with new therapies for treating metastatic disease.
KeywordsSnail1 Cancer microenvironment Cancer-associated fibroblasts Extracellular matrix Stem cells Paracrine signals
M. Eaude helped with the English text. This research is supported by PI12/02037, RD12/0036/0041 from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III-FEDER; by the Fundación Científica AECC; by SAF2010-20750 from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad of Spain-FEDER; by S2010/BMD-2344 from the Comunidad de Madrid; and by the Fundación Banco Santander. Cristina Peña is a recipient of a Miguel Servet Contract from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III. All authors state no conflicts of interest. We thank lab members for help and advice throughout this research.
Compliance with ethical standards
This manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data. Thus, statements about “Informed consent” or “Research involving Human Participants and/or Animals” are not applicable.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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