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This article is the author’s final published version in Open biology, Volume 12, Issue 1, January, Pages 210304.

The published version is available at Copyright © Chen and Iozzo.


The extracellular matrix (ECM) exists as a dynamic network of biophysical and biochemical factors that maintain tissue homeostasis. Given its sensitivity to changes in the intra- and extracellular space, the plasticity of the ECM can be pathological in driving disease through aberrant matrix remodelling. In particular, cancer uses the matrix for its proliferation, angiogenesis, cellular reprogramming and metastatic spread. An emerging field of matrix biology focuses on proteoglycans that regulate autophagy, an intracellular process that plays both critical and contextual roles in cancer. Here, we review the most prominent autophagic modulators from the matrix and the current understanding of the cellular pathways and signalling cascades that mechanistically drive their autophagic function. We then critically assess how their autophagic functions influence tumorigenesis, emphasizing the complexities and stage-dependent nature of this relationship in cancer. We highlight novel emerging data on immunoglobulin-containing and proline-rich receptor-1, heparanase and thrombospondin 1 in autophagy and cancer. Finally, we further discuss the pro- and anti-autophagic modulators originating from the ECM, as well as how these proteoglycans and other matrix constituents specifically influence cancer progression.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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