Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, including esophageal, gastric, colorectal, liver, and pancreatic cancers, remain as one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with a large proportion accounting for fatalities related to metastatic disease. Invasion of primary cancer occurs by the actin cytoskeleton remodeling, including the formation of the filopodia, stereocilia, and other finger-like membrane protrusions. The crucial step of actin remodeling in the malignant cells is mediated by the fascin protein family, with fascin-1 being the most active. Fascin-1 is an actin-binding protein that cross-links filamentous actin into tightly packed parallel bundles, giving rise to finger-like cell protrusions, thus equipping the cell with the machinery necessary for adhesion, motility, and invasion. Thus, fascin-1 has been noted to be a key component for determining patient diagnosis and treatment plan. Indeed, the overexpression of fascin-1 in GI tract cancers has been associated with a poor clinical prognosis and metastatic progression. Moreover, fascin-1 has received attention as a potential therapeutic target for metastatic GI tract cancers. In this review, we provide an up-to-date literature review of the role of fascin-1 in the initiation of GI tract cancers, metastatic progression, and patients' clinical outcomes.

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Cancers (Basel)