Fascin-1 as a biomarker and prospective therapeutic target in colorectal cancer

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Fascin-1 is a filamentous actin-binding protein that crosslinks actin microfilaments into tight, parallel bundles. These bundles are important for the extension of microspikes, filopodia and invadopodia from cell surfaces and for the functionality of these protrusions in cell migration and/or dynamic sensing of the local microenvironment. Fascin-1 is absent in normal colonic epithelium, but its upregulation in colorectal adenomas and adenocarcinomas and its correlation with an aggressive clinical course has piqued the interest of many laboratories with research interests in cancer metastasis. This report summarizes current knowledge of the molecular interactions of fascin-1 in relation to its activities and mechanisms of upregulation in colorectal carcinoma cells. The status and key questions surrounding investigations of fascin-1 as a novel, early prognostic biomarker in colorectal cancer are discussed. Ongoing pre-clinical research into new migration inhibitory and anti-metastatic compounds that alter the actin cytoskeleton, and the goal of targeting fascin-1, is also discussed.

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