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Bioessays. 1999 Jan;21(1):61-70.

Cripto: a novel epidermal growth factor (EGF)-related peptide in mammary gland development and neoplasia.

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Tumor Factor Growth Section, LTIB, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Growth and morphogenesis in the mammary gland depend on locally derived growth factors such as those in the epidermal growth factor (EGF) superfamily. Cripto-1 (CR-1, human; Cr-1, mouse)--also known as teratocarcinoma-derived growth factor-1--is a novel EGF-related protein that induces branching morphogenesis in mammary epithelial cells both in vitro and in vivo and inhibits the expression of various milk proteins. In the mouse, Cr-1 is expressed in the growing terminal end buds in the virgin mouse mammary gland and expression increases during pregnancy and lactation. Cr-1/CR-1 is overexpressed in mouse and human mammary tumors and inappropriate overexpression of Cr-1 in mouse mammary epithelial cells can lead to the clonal expansion of ductal hyperplasias. Taken together, this evidence suggests that Cr-1/CR-1 performs a role in normal mammary gland development and that it might contribute to the early stages of mouse mammary tumorigenesis and the pathobiology of human breast cancer.

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