ReviewWound Healing

The hallmarks of cancer are also the hallmarks of wound healing

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Science Signaling  08 Sep 2020:
Vol. 13, Issue 648, eaay8690
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aay8690


  • Fig. 1 The classic “Hallmarks of Cancer” circle adapted from Hanahan and Weinberg (2011) to illustrate parallels between cancer and wound healing.

    Many of the hallmarks and enabling characteristics of cancer are mirrored in wound healing. For some processes, the parallels are very clearly present (bold text) or absent (crossed-out text). For other processes, there are hints that there may be parallels. We propose three new prospective enabling characteristics or hallmarks (black boxes) that either contribute to or are a consequence of inflammation and may apply to both cancer and wound healing: changes in matrix deposition, fat cells, and changes in the microbiome (dysbiosis).

  • Fig. 2 How the hallmarks extrapolate to a healing wound.

    The contribution of the hallmarks and enabling characteristics to wound healing are mapped onto a schematic of a healing skin wound. Cell migration and proliferation drive re-epithelialization, which may also depend on altered cellular energetics. The wounded epithelium must also resist cell death and avoid damage inflicted by inflammatory cells that infiltrate the wound. Damage signals, the microbiome, and fat cells contribute to the inflammatory response, which, in turn, regulates both wound angiogenesis and matrix deposition.

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