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Curr Mol Med. 2006 Dec;6(8):905-18.

Notch signaling in cancer.

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Breast Cancer Program, Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola University Chicago, IL 60153, USA.


The evolutionarily conserved developmental pathway driven by Notch receptors and ligands has acquired multiple post-natal homeostatic functions in vertebrates. Potential roles in human physiology and pathology are being studied by an increasingly large number of investigators. While the canonical Notch signaling pathway is deceptively simple, the consequences of Notch activation on cell fate are complex and context-dependent. The manner in which other signaling pathways cross-talk with Notch signaling appears to be extraordinarily complex. Recent observations have demonstrated the importance of endocytosis, multiple ubiquitin ligases, non-visual beta-arrestins and hypoxia in modulating Notch signaling. Structural biology is shedding light on the molecular mechanisms whereby Notch interacts with its nuclear partners. Genomics is slowly unraveling the puzzle of Notch target genes in several systems. At the same time, interest in modulating Notch signaling for medical purposes has dramatically increased. Over the last few years we have learned much about Notch signaling in cancer, immune disorders, neurological disorders and most recently, stroke. The role of Notch signaling in normal and transformed stem cells is under intense investigation. Some Notch-modulating drugs are already in clinical trials, and others at various stages of development. This review will focus on the most recent findings on Notch signaling in cancer and discuss their potential clinical implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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