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Trends Mol Med. 2005 Jul;11(7):336-40.

Fibulins and cancer: friend or foe?

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Department of Pharmacology, Centre for Molecular Medicine, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.


The fibulins are a family of secreted glycoproteins, which are characterised by repeated epidermal-growth-factor-like domains and a unique C-terminal structure. Six distinct fibulin genes, encoding at least nine protein products generated by alternative splicing, have been identified. Considerable evidence is available pointing towards a structural role for fibulins within the extracellular matrix. Fibulins have been shown to modulate cell morphology, growth, adhesion and motility. The dysregulation of certain fibulins occurs in a range of human disorders, including cancer. Indeed, both tumour suppressive and oncogenic activities have been proposed for members of the fibulin family. Herein, we discuss the possible roles of fibulins in cancer, in addition to their diagnostic and therapeutic potential.

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