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Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2007 Apr;16(4):451-65.

N-cadherin as a therapeutic target in cancer.

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Centre Pluridisciplinaire d'Oncologie, Division of Experimental Oncology, Lausanne Cancer Center, and Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), NCCR Molecular Oncology, Epalinges, Switzerland.


During tumor progression, cancer cells undergo dramatic changes in the expression profile of adhesion molecules resulting in detachment from original tissue and acquisition of a highly motile and invasive phenotype. A hallmark of this change, also referred to as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, is the loss of E- (epithelial) cadherin and the de novo expression of N- (neural) cadherin adhesion molecules. N-cadherin promotes tumor cell survival, migration and invasion, and a high level of its expression is often associated with poor prognosis. N-cadherin is also expressed in endothelial cells and plays an essential role in the maturation and stabilization of normal vessels and tumor-associated angiogenic vessels. Increasing experimental evidence suggests that N-cadherin is a potential therapeutic target in cancer. A peptidic N-cadherin antagonist (ADH-1) has been developed and has entered clinical testing. In this review, the authors discuss the biochemical and functional features of N-cadherin, its potential role in cancer and angiogenesis, and summarize the preclinical and clinical results achieved with ADH-1.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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