Cell-extrinsic signals and intrinsic cell cycle regulators strictly control cell proliferation. Cancers develop from a cell that escapes these tight controls and proliferates unrestrictedly. The primary cilium critically controls proliferation by mediating cell-extrinsic signals and by regulating cell cycle entry. Recent studies show that primary cilia and proteins associated with them also function in autophagy and genome stability, which are important players in oncogenesis. Thus, normal or abnormal functions of primary cilia may contribute to oncogenesis. Consistently, defective cilia can either promote or suppress cancers, depending on the cancer-initiating mutation, and presence or absence of primary cilia is associated with specific cancer types. Together, these findings suggest that primary cilia play central but distinct roles in different cancer types, opening up a completely new avenue of research to understand the biology and treatment of cancers.
In a special thematic series titled “Primary Cilia and Cancer”, we will discuss the roles of primary cilia in promoting or inhibiting oncogenesis based on known or predicted functions of cilia and cilia-associated proteins in several key processes that are important for normal development/homeostasis, including the function of cilia in signaling pathways, cell cycle progression, genome stability, and autophagy. We will also include a resource paper cataloguing cilia status in various cancers and in relation to oncogenic mutations.
This thematic series will be guest edited by Young-Goo Han, St. Judes Children's Research Hospital.
Submit your article to this series at www.editorialmanager.com/clia, and make sure to note that it should be considered for the "Primary Cilia and Cancer" series.