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Nat Rev Cancer. 2003 Jun;3(6):422-33.

Basement membranes: structure, assembly and role in tumour angiogenesis.

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  • 1Center for Matrix Biology, Department of Medicine, Dana 514, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


In recent years, the basement membrane (BM)--a specialized form of extracellular matrix (ECM)--has been recognized as an important regulator of cell behaviour, rather than just a structural feature of tissues. The BM mediates tissue compartmentalization and sends signals to epithelial cells about the external microenvironment. The BM is also an important structural and functional component of blood vessels, constituting an extracellular microenvironment sensor for endothelial cells and pericytes. Vascular BM components have recently been found to be involved in the regulation of tumour angiogenesis, making them attractive candidate targets for potential cancer therapies.

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