L Voiles, DE Lewis, L Han, IP Lupov, T-L Lin, MJ Robertson, I Petrache, H-C Chang
Type VI collagen (COL6), an extracellular matrix protein, is important in maintaining the integrity of lung tissue. An increase in COL6 mRNA and protein deposition was found in the lungs of patients with pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic inflammatory condition with a strong association with lung cancer. In the present study, we demonstrated overexpression of COL6 in the lungs of non-small cell lung cancers. We hypothesized that excessive COL6 in the lung interstitium may exert stimulatory effects on the adjacent cells. In vitro stimulation of monocytes with COL6 resulted in the production of IL-23, which may promote tumor development in an environment of IL-23-mediated lung inflammation, where tissue modeling occurs concurrently with excessive COL6 production. In addition, COL6 was capable of stimulating signaling pathways that activate focal adhesion kinase and extracellular signal‑regulated kinase 1/2 in lung epithelial cells, which may also facilitate the development of lung neoplasms. Taken together, our data suggest the potential role of COL6 in promoting lung neoplasia in diseased lungs where COL6 is overexpressed.