Cilia are microtubule-based organelles, which are ubiquitously expressed in epithelial cells. Cholangiocytes, the epithelial cells lining the biliary tree, have primary cilia extending from their apical plasma membrane into the ductal lumen, where the cilia function as multisensory organelles transducing environmental cues into the cell interior. The decrease or loss of primary cilia has been described in several malignancies, including cholangiocarcinoma, suggesting that the loss of cilia is a common occurrence in neoplastic transformation. In this short review, we describe the expression of cilia in several cancers, explore the mechanisms and consequences of ciliary loss, and discuss the potential use of the primary cilia as therapeutic targets.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by NIH Grants CA166635 and R01CA183764 (to S.A.G), DK57993 (to N.F.L), and the Mayo Clinic Center for Cell Signaling in Gastroenterology (P30DK084567).
- Bile duct cancer
- Primary cilia