Collagens are the most abundant proteins in the body and comprise the basement membranes and stroma through which cancerous invasion occurs; however, a pro-neoplastic function for mutant collagens is undefined. Here we identify COL11A1 mutations in 66 of 100 cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCCs), the second most common U.S. cancer, concentrated in a triple helical region known to produce trans-dominant collagens. Analysis of COL11A1 and other collagen genes found that they are mutated across common epithelial malignancies. Knockout of mutant COL11A1 impairs cSCC tumorigenesis in vivo. Compared to otherwise genetically identical COL11A1 wild-type tissue, gene-edited mutant COL11A1 skin is characterized by induction of beta1 integrin targets and accelerated neoplastic invasion. In mosaic tissue, mutant COL11A1 cells enhanced invasion by neighboring wild-type cells. These results suggest that specific collagens are commonly mutated in cancer and that mutant collagens may accelerate this process.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41388-021-02013-y
View details for PubMedID 34584216