Immunotherapy of cancer using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells is a rapidly expanding field. CARs are fusion molecules that couple the binding of a tumour-associated cell surface target to the delivery of a tailored T-cell activating signal. Re-infusion of such genetically engineered T-cells to patients with haematological disease has demonstrated unprecedented response rates in Phase I clinical trials. However, such successes have not yet been observed using CAR T-cells against solid malignancies and this is, in part, due to a lack of safe tumour-specific targets. The αvβ6 integrin is strongly up-regulated in multiple solid tumours including those derived from colon, lung, breast, cervix, ovaries/fallopian tube, pancreas and head and neck. It is associated with poorer prognosis in several cancers and exerts pro-tumorigenic activities including promotion of tumour growth, migration and invasion. By contrast, physiologic expression of αvβ6 is largely restricted to wound healing. These attributes render this epithelial-specific integrin a highly attractive candidate for targeting using immunotherapeutic strategies such as CAR T-cell adoptive immunotherapy. This mini-review will discuss the role and expression of αvβ6 in cancer, as well as its potential as a therapeutic target.

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