Potential Roles of Acute Phase Proteins in Cancer : Why Do Cancer Cells Produce or Take Up Exogenous Acute Phase Protein Alpha1-Antitrypsin?
An association between acute-phase proteins (APPs) and cancer has long been established and there are numerous reports correlating altered levels and/or molecular forms of APPs with different types of cancers. Many authors have shown a positive correlation between high levels of APPs, like alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT), and unfavorable clinical outcome in cancers. Conversely, others proposed that high levels of APPs are probably just a part of nonspecific inflammatory response to cancer development. However, this might not be always true, because many cancerous cells produce or take up exogenous APPs. What is the biological significance of this and what benefit do cancer cells have from these proteins remains largely unknown. Recent data revealed that some APPs, including AAT, are able to enhance cancer cell resistance against anticancer drug-induced apoptosis and autophagy. In this review, we specifically discuss our own findings and controversies in the literature regarding the role of AAT in cancer.