In the course of studying human mucin MUC1, an attitude towards this molecule has been changing time and again. Initially, the list of presumable functions of MUC1 was restricted to protecting and lubricating epithelium. To date, it is assumed to play an important role in cell signaling as well as in all stages of oncogenesis, from malignant cell transformation to tumor dissemination. The story of MUC1 is full of hopes and disappointments. However, the scientific interest to MUC1 has never waned, and the more profoundly it has been investigated, the clearer its hidden potential turned to be disclosed. The therapeutic potential of mucin MUC1 has already been noted by various scientific groups at the early stages of research. Over forty years ago the first insights into MUC1 functions became a strong grounds for considering this molecule as potential target for anticancer therapy. Therefore, this direction of research has always been of particular interest and practical importance. More than 200 papers on MUC1 were published in 2016; the majority of them are dedicated to MUC1-related anticancer diagnostics and therapeutics. Here we review the history of MUC1 studies from the very first attempts to reveal its functions to the ongoing renaissance.
Keywords: MUC1, PEM, anticancer therapy, metastasis, breast cancer, mucin glycoprotein
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