The diverse and complex roles of atypical chemokine receptors in cancer: From molecular biology to clinical relevance and therapy.
Chemokines regulate directed cell migration, proliferation and survival and are key components in cancer biology. They exert their functions by interacting with seven-transmembrane domain receptors that signal through G proteins (GPCRs). A subgroup of four chemokine receptors known as the atypical chemokine receptors (ACKRs) has emerged as essential regulators of the chemokine functions. ACKRs play diverse and complex roles in tumor biology from tumor initiation to metastasis, including cancer cell proliferation, adherence to endothelium, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), extravasation from blood vessels, tumor-associated angiogenesis or protection from immunological responses. This chapter gives an overview on the established and emerging roles that the atypical chemokine receptors ACKR1, ACKR2, ACKR3 and ACKR4 play in the different phases of cancer development and dissemination, their clinical relevance, as well as on the hurdles to overcome in ACKRs targeting as cancer therapy.