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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Jun;65(12):1916-32. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-7573-9.

The urokinase receptor and integrins in cancer progression.

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  • 1Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California San Francisco, 513 Parnassus Avenue, HSE 201, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


Enhanced levels of expression of urokinase receptor (uPAR) and certain integrins have been linked to cancer cell progression. This has classically been attributed to matrix degradation via the activation of the urokinase (uPA)/plasmin system and modulation of cell motility and survival through integrin engagement. More recently, uPAR has been shown to play multiple roles independent of protease activity. Specifically, uPAR has been shown to be intimately involved in the regulation of cell adhesion, migration and proliferation in part through interactions with other membrane partners, including integrins. The goal of this review is to summarize recent insights in the function of uPAR/integrin interactions, to provide a framework for understanding the importance of these interactions in the context of cancer, and to highlight its potential as a target for therapeutic intervention.

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