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This article is the author’s final published version in Cancers, Volume 14, Issue 3, February 2022, Article number 804.

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


Proteoglycans are emerging as critical regulators of intracellular catabolism. This rise in prominence has transformed our basic understanding and alerted us to the existence of non-canonical pathways, independent of nutrient deprivation, that potently control the autophagy downstream of a cell surface receptor. As a member of the small leucine-rich proteoglycan gene family, decorin has single-handedly pioneered the connection between extracellular matrix signaling and autophagy regulation. Soluble decorin evokes protracted endothelial cell autophagy via Peg3 and breast carcinoma cell mitophagy via mitostatin by interacting with VEGFR2 or the MET receptor tyrosine kinase, respectively. In this paper, we give a mechanistic perspective of the vital factors underlying the nutrient-independent, SLRP-dependent programs utilized for autophagic and/or mitophagic progression in breast cancer. Future protein therapies based on decorin (or fellow proteoglycan members) will represent a quantum leap forward in transforming autophagic progression into a powerful tool to control intracellular cell catabolism from the outside.

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

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