Mucins (MUC1-MUC24) are a family of glycoproteins involved in cell signaling and barrier protection. They have been implicated in the progression of numerous malignancies including gastric, pancreatic, ovarian, breast, and lung cancer. Mucins have also been extensively studied with respect to colorectal cancer. They have been found to have diverse expression profiles amongst the normal colon, benign hyperplastic polyps, pre-malignant polyps, and colon cancers. Those expressed in the normal colon include MUC2, MUC3, MUC4, MUC11, MUC12, MUC13, MUC15 (at low levels), and MUC21. Whereas MUC5, MUC6, MUC16, and MUC20 are absent from the normal colon and are expressed in colorectal cancers. MUC1, MUC2, MUC4, MUC5AC, and MUC6 are currently the most widely covered in the literature regarding their role in the progression from normal colonic tissue to cancer.
Cox, Kristin E.; Liu, Shanglei; Lwin, Thinzar M.; Hoffman, Robert M.; Batra, Surinder K.; and Bouvet, Michael, "The Mucin Family of Proteins: Candidates as Potential Biomarkers for Colon Cancer" (2023). Journal Articles: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. 160.