Exploiting agonist biased signaling of chemokines to target cancer

Ishan Roy, Anthony E. Getschman, Brian F. Volkman, Michael B. Dwinell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


As knowledge of growth-independent functions of cancer cells is expanding, exploration into the role of chemokines in modulating cancer pathogenesis, particularly metastasis, continues to develop. However, more study into the mechanisms whereby chemokines direct the migration of cancer cells is needed before specific therapies can be generated to target metastasis. Herein, we draw attention to the longstanding conundrum in the field of chemokine biology that chemokines stimulate migration in a biphasic manner; and explore this phenomenon's impact on chemokine function in the context of cancer. Typically, low concentrations of chemokines lead to chemotactic migration and higher concentrations halt migration. The signaling mechanisms that govern this phenomenon remain unclear. Over the last decade, we have defined a novel signaling mechanism for regulation of chemokine migration through ligand oligomerization and biased agonist signaling. We provide insight into this new paradigm for chemokine signaling and discuss how it will impact future exploration into chemokine function and biology. In the pursuit of producing more novel cancer therapies, we suggest a framework for pharmaceutical application of the principles of chemokine oligomerization and biased agonist signaling in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)804-813
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • G protein coupled receptor
  • biased agonist
  • functional selectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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