The Emerging Role of Intelectin-1 in Cancer



Paval DR, Di Virgilio TG, Skipworth RJE & Gallagher IJ (2022) The Emerging Role of Intelectin-1 in Cancer. Frontiers in Oncology, 12, Art. No.: 767859.

Background: Intelectin (ITLN) is an adipokine with two homologs—ITLN1 and ITLN2—that has various physiological functions. Studies analyzing the relationship between ITLN and cancer are focused on ITLN1; the available literature on ITLN2 and cancer is limited. This review aims to evaluate the role of ITLN1 in cancer without imposing any inclusion criteria, to examine pro- and anticancer roles for ITLN1 and to discuss whether the relationship between ITLN and cancer is mediated by obesity. Findings: Overall, ITLN1 level was highly variable in cancer patients but different from healthy individuals. Compared with control groups, patients with gastrointestinal and prostate cancer showed increased concentrations of circulating ITLN1, while patients with gynecological, breast, bladder, and renal cancer had lower ITLN1 levels. Several studies also evaluated tissue and tumor expression of ITLN1. In gastrointestinal cancer, ITLN1 was increased in tumor tissue compared with adjacent healthy tissue and elevated in the visceral adipose tissue of patients compared with controls. Consequently, the high levels of circulating ITLN1 might be determined by the tumor and by the cancer-associated weight loss in gastrointestinal cancer. ITLN1 can activate the phosphoinositide-3-kinase-protein kinase B/Akt (PI3K/Akt) pathway. The improper regulation of this pathway may contribute to a series of cellular events that favor tumor development and progression. Obesity has been linked with an increased risk of developing some cancers. Indeed, low circulating ITLN1 levels may be a marker of the metabolic effects of obesity, rather than obesity per se, and might contribute to a deregulation of the PI3K/Akt pathway. Conclusions: ITLN1 could be associated with cancer formation and progression. Since circulating ITLN1 levels are highly variable and differ between cancer types, the local tumor production of ITLN1 could be more relevant in determining malignant behavior. Future research should aim to identify the source of ITLN1 variability, to understand the differences in ITLN1 between distinct tumor types, and to further explore the signaling pathways through which this adipokine influences cancer biology.

omentin; adipokine; cancer; tumor; intelectin; gastrointestinal

Frontiers in Oncology: Volume 12

Publication date31/12/2022
Publication date online03/02/2022
Date accepted by journal07/01/2022
PublisherFrontiers Media SA

People (2)


Dr Thomas Di Virgilio

Dr Thomas Di Virgilio

Lecturer, Sport

Mr Robert Paval

Mr Robert Paval

PhD Researcher, Sport