Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 2213–2222 | Cite as

COL11A1/(pro)collagen 11A1 expression is a remarkable biomarker of human invasive carcinoma-associated stromal cells and carcinoma progression

  • Fernando Vázquez-Villa
  • Marcos García-Ocaña
  • José A. Galván
  • Jorge García-Martínez
  • Carmen García-Pravia
  • Primitiva Menéndez-Rodríguez
  • Carmen González-del Rey
  • Luis Barneo-Serra
  • Juan R. de los Toyos


The COL11A1 human gene codes for the α1 chain of procollagen 11A1 and mature collagen 11A1, an extracellular minor fibrillar collagen. Under regular conditions, this gene and its derived products are mainly expressed by chondrocytes and mesenchymal stem cells as well as osteoblasts. Normal epithelial cells and quiescent fibroblasts from diverse locations do not express them. Mesenchyme-derived tumors and related conditions, such as scleroderma and keloids, are positive for COL11A1/(pro)collagen 11A1 expression, as well as high-grade human gliomas/glioblastomas. This expression is almost absent in benign pathological processes such as breast hyperplasia, sclerosing adenosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, diverticulitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. By contrast, COL11A1/(pro)collagen 11A1 is highly expressed by activated stromal cells of the desmoplastic reaction of different human invasive carcinomas, and this expression is correlated with carcinoma aggressiveness and progression, and lymph node metastasis. COL11A1 upregulation has been shown to be associated to TGF-β1, Wnt, and Hh signaling pathways, which are especially active in cancer-associated stromal cells. At the front of invasive carcinomas, neoplastic epithelial cells, putatively undergoing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and carcinoma-derived cells with highly metastatic capabilities, can express COL11A1. Thus, in established metastases, the expression of COL11A1/(pro)collagen 11A1 could rely on both the metastatic epithelial cells and/or the accompanying activated stromal cells. COL11A1/(pro)collagen 11A1 expression is a remarkable biomarker of human carcinoma-associated stromal cells and carcinoma progression.


COL11A1 (Pro)collagen 11A1 Stromal cells Human invasive carcinoma 



The authors thank Inti Zlobec for the critical reading of the manuscript and helpful comments. This work was co-financed by European Union ERDF Funds; by the INNPACTO-ONCOPAN IPT-010000-2010-31 Project; by the FISS-09-PS09/01911 Project, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain; by the FC-11-PC10-23, FICYT Project, Axe 1 of the 2007–2013 ERDF Operational Framework Programme of the Principality of Asturias, Spain; and by Oncomatrix, S.L. Derio, Spain.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Vázquez-Villa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marcos García-Ocaña
    • 2
    • 3
  • José A. Galván
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • Jorge García-Martínez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carmen García-Pravia
    • 2
    • 4
  • Primitiva Menéndez-Rodríguez
    • 4
  • Carmen González-del Rey
    • 4
  • Luis Barneo-Serra
    • 1
    • 2
  • Juan R. de los Toyos
    • 2
    • 5
    • 7
  1. 1.Surgery Department, School of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of OviedoOviedoSpain
  2. 2.Oncology University Institute of the Principality of Asturias (IUOPA)OviedoSpain
  3. 3.Preparative Biotechnology Unit, Technical-Scientific ServicesUniversity of OviedoOviedoSpain
  4. 4.Pathological Anatomy ServiceAsturias Central University Hospital (HUCA)OviedoSpain
  5. 5.Immunology Department, School of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of OviedoOviedoSpain
  6. 6.Translational Research Unit (TRU), Institute of PathologyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  7. 7.Área de Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina y Ciencias de la SaludUniversidad de OviedoOviedoSpain

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