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Nat Rev Cancer. 2007 Apr;7(4):246-55.

Reprogramming metastatic tumour cells with embryonic microenvironments.

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Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program, Children's Memorial Research Centre, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA.


Aggressive tumour cells share many characteristics with embryonic progenitors, contributing to the conundrum of tumour cell plasticity. Recent studies using embryonic models of human stem cells, the zebrafish and the chick have shown the reversion of the metastatic phenotype of aggressive melanoma cells, and revealed the convergence of embryonic and tumorigenic signalling pathways, which may help to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention. This Review will summarize the embryonic models used to reverse the metastatic melanoma phenotype, and highlight the prominent signalling pathways that have emerged as noteworthy targets for future consideration.

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