The functions and regulatory pathways of S100A8/A9 and its receptors in cancers
Inflammation primarily influences the initiation, progression, and deterioration of many human diseases, and immune cells are the principal forces that modulate the balance of inflammation by generating cytokines and chemokines to maintain physiological homeostasis or accelerate disease development. S100A8/A9, a heterodimer protein mainly generated by neutrophils, triggers many signal transduction pathways to mediate microtubule constitution and pathogen defense, as well as intricate procedures of cancer growth, metastasis, drug resistance, and prognosis. Its paired receptors, such as receptor for advanced glycation ends (RAGEs) and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), also have roles and effects within tumor cells, mainly involved with mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), NF-κB, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and protein kinase C (PKC) activation. In the clinical setting, S100A8/A9 and its receptors can be used complementarily as efficient biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and treatment. This review comprehensively summarizes the biological functions of S100A8/A9 and its various receptors in tumor cells, in order to provide new insights and strategies targeting S100A8/A9 to promote novel diagnostic and therapeutic methods in cancers.