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MINI-REVIEW: MUC1 in Cancer Immunotherapy – New Hope or Phantom Menace?

M. S. Syrkina1,2,a* and M. A. Rubtsov1,2,3,b*

1Lomonosov Moscow State University, Department of Biology, 119234 Moscow, Russia

2Lomonosov Moscow State University, Laboratoire Franco-Russe de Recherches en Oncologie, 119234 Moscow, Russia

3Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University), 119991 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received February 25, 2019; Revised March 15, 2019; Accepted March 15, 2019
Understanding of the functioning of MUC1 (human mucin) has advanced significantly over 40 years of its investigation. The anti-adhesive properties of the extracellular domain, which were the main focus of early studies initially explaining overexpression of MUC1 in progressing oncological diseases, were gradually put on the back burner. Researchers became more interested in its regulatory and signaling functions in cells rather in its anti-adhesive properties. The found the ability of MUC1 for signal transduction, and its ability to participate in cell metabolism opened new possibilities for improved control over cancer cells in addition to just attracting antigens of the immune system to a target. Nevertheless, there are issues in the functioning of MUC1 that raise doubts about its effectiveness in cancer immunotherapy.
KEY WORDS: mucin, MUC1, immunotherapy, glycosylation, immunosuppression, tandem repeats, CAR-T

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297919070083