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Nat Cell Biol. 2007 Sep;9(9):1016-24.

Cell polarity in development and cancer.

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Department of Stem Cell Biology, DFG Research Center for Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CMPB), University of Göttingen, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.


The development of cancer is a multistep process in which the DNA of a single cell accumulates mutations in genes that control essential cellular processes. Loss of cell-cell adhesion and cell polarity is commonly observed in advanced tumours and correlates well with their invasion into adjacent tissues and the formation of metastases. Growing evidence indicates that loss of cell-cell adhesion and cell polarity may also be important in early stages of cancer. The strongest hints in this direction come from studies on tumour suppressor genes in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, which have revealed their importance in the control of apical-basal cell polarity.

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