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Cancer Lett. 2009 Jan 8;273(1):1-14. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.05.032. Epub 2008 Jul 14.

Semaphorins and their receptors in lung cancer.

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  • 1Division of Hematology/Oncology, Medical University of South Carolina, P.O. Box 250623, 96 Jonathan Lucas Street, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Semaphorins are a large family of secreted, transmembrane and GPI-linked proteins initially characterized in the development of the nervous system and axonal guidance. Semaphorins are expressed in many tissues where they regulate normal development, organ morphogenesis, immunity and angiogenesis. They affect the cytoskeleton, actin filament organization, microtubules and cell adhesion. Semaphorin signaling is transduced by plexins, which in the case of most class-3 semaphorins requires high-affinity neuropilin receptors. The neuropilins also function as receptors for VEGF and other growth factors, and their expression is often abnormal in tumors. In cancer, semaphorins have both tumor suppressor and tumor promoting functions. We review here the current status of semaphorins and their receptors in tumor development with a focus on lung cancer.

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