Mucins reprogram stemness, metabolism and promote chemoresistance during cancer progression

Saravanakumar Marimuthu, Sanchita Rauth, Koelina Ganguly, Chunmeng Zhang, Imayavaramban Lakshmanan, Surinder K. Batra, Moorthy P. Ponnusamy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Mucins are high-molecular-weight glycoproteins dysregulated in aggressive cancers. The role of mucins in disease progression, tumor proliferation, and chemotherapy resistance has been studied extensively. This article provides a comprehensive review of mucin’s function as a physical barrier and the implication of mucin overexpression in impeded drug delivery to solid tumors. Mucins regulate the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) of cancer cells via several canonical and non-canonical oncogenic signaling pathways. Furthermore, mucins play an extensive role in enriching and maintaining the cancer stem cell (CSC) population, thereby sustaining the self-renewing and chemoresistant cellular pool in the bulk tumor. It has recently been demonstrated that mucins regulate the metabolic reprogramming during oncogenesis and cancer progression, which account for tumor cell survival, proliferation, and drug-resistance. This review article focuses on delineating mucin’s role in oncogenic signaling and aberrant regulation of gene expressions, culminating in CSC maintenance, metabolic rewiring, and development of chemoresistance, tumor progression, and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-588
Number of pages14
JournalCancer and Metastasis Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Cancer stem cell
  • Chemoresistance
  • Epithelial to mesenchymal transition
  • Metabolic reprogramming
  • Metastasis
  • Mucins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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