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Eur J Cancer. 2000 Aug;36(13 Spec No):1607-20.

The E-cadherin-catenin complex in tumour metastasis: structure, function and regulation.

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Department of Anatomical Pathology, School of Pathology, South African Institute for Medical Research and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


E-cadherin and the associated catenin complex have been recognised as performing a key role in cell adhesion. Loss of cell adhesion is seen as a key step in the cascade leading to tumour metastasis. The ability of both extra- and intracellular factors to regulate E-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion in physiological processes has provided insight into both the interactions of the E-cadherin-catenin complex, and possible mechanisms utilised by tumours in the process of metastasis. The interaction of the E-cadherin-catenin complex with various regulating factors, their effect on cell signalling pathways, and the relationship with the metastatic potential of tumours are reviewed.

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