ADAM17: An emerging therapeutic target for lung cancer

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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality, which histologically is classified into small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancer diagnoses, with the majority of patients presenting with lung adenocarcinoma (LAC). KRAS mutations are a major driver of LAC, and are closely related to cigarette smoking, unlike mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) which arise in never-smokers. Although the past two decades have seen fundamental progress in the treatment and diagnosis of NSCLC, NSCLC still is predominantly diagnosed at an advanced stage when therapeutic interventions are mostly palliative. A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17 (ADAM17), also known as tumour necrosis factor-a (TNFa)-converting enzyme (TACE), is responsible for the protease-driven shedding of more than 70 membranetethered cytokines, growth factors and cell surface receptors. Among these, the soluble interleukin- 6 receptor (sIL-6R), which drives pro-inflammatory and pro-tumourigenic IL-6 trans-signaling, along with several EGFR family ligands, are the best characterised. This large repertoire of substrates processed by ADAM17 places it as a pivotal orchestrator of a myriad of physiological and pathological processes associated with the initiation and/or progression of cancer, such as cell proliferation, survival, regeneration, differentiation and inflammation. In this review, we discuss recent research implicating ADAM17 as a key player in the development of LAC, and highlight the potential of ADAM17 inhibition as a promising therapeutic strategy to tackle this deadly malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1218
Number of pages28
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2019


  • ADAM17
  • EGFR
  • IL-6 trans-signaling
  • KRAS
  • Lung cancer
  • Tobacco smoking

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