MUC1: Structure, function, and clinic application in epithelial cancers

Wenqing CHEN, Zhu ZHANG, Shiqing ZHANG, Peili ZHU, Joshua Ka-Shun KO, Kin Lam Ken YUNG

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91 Citations (Scopus)


The transmembrane glycoprotein mucin 1 (MUC1) is a mucin family member that has different functions in normal and cancer cells. Owing to its structural and biochemical properties, MUC1 can act as a lubricant, moisturizer, and physical barrier in normal cells. However, in cancer cells, MUC1 often undergoes aberrant glycosylation and overexpression. It is involved in cancer in-vasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, and apoptosis by virtue of its participation in intracellular signaling processes and the regulation of related biomolecules. This review introduces the biological structure and different roles of MUC1 in normal and cancer cells and the regulatory mechanisms governing these roles. It also evaluates current research progress and the clinical applications of MUC1 in cancer therapy based on its characteristics. Copyright © 2021 by the authors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6567
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


Chen, W., Zhang, Z., Zhang, S., Zhu, P., Ko, J. K.-S., & Yung, K. K.-L. (2021). MUC1: Structure, function, and clinic application in epithelial cancers. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(12), Article 6567.


  • MUC1
  • Epithelial cancer
  • MUC1 cell barrier
  • Tumor oncogene
  • Therapeutic biomarkers
  • Immunotherapy


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