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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Schaefer, L., Tredup, C., Gubbiotti, M. A., & Iozzo, R. V. (2017). Proteoglycan neofunctions: Regulation of inflammation and autophagy in cancer biology. FEBS Journal, 284(1), 10-26, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


Inflammation and autophagy have emerged as prominent issues in the context of proteoglycan signaling. In particular, two small, leucine-rich proteoglycans, biglycan and decorin, play pivotal roles in the regulation of these vital cellular pathways and, as such, are intrinsically involved in cancer initiation and progression. In this minireview, we will address novel functions of biglycan and decorin in inflammation and autophagy, and analyze new emerging signaling events triggered by these proteoglycans, which directly or indirectly modulate these processes. We will critically discuss the dual role of proteoglycan-driven inflammation and autophagy in tumor biology, and delineate the potential mechanisms through which soluble extracellular matrix constituents affect the microenvironment associated with inflammatory and neoplastic diseases.

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