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Cancer Lett. 2009 Sep 18;282(2):137-45. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.12.021. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM) in invasive tumors.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 76100, Israel.


The L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM) belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily and was originally identified in the nervous system. Recent studies demonstrated L1CAM expression in various types of cancer, predominantly at the invasive front of tumors and in metastases, suggesting its involvement in advanced stages of tumor progression. Overexpression of L1CAM in normal and cancer cells increased motility, enhanced growth rate and promoted cell transformation and tumorigenicity. Moreover, the expression of L1CAM in tumor cells conferred the capacity to form metastases. These properties of L1CAM, in addition to its cell surface localization, make it a potentially useful diagnostic marker for cancer progression and a candidate for anti-cancer therapy. We review the role of L1CAM in cancer progression with particular emphasis on colon cancer, and the potential of anti-L1CAM antibodies as a therapeutic tool for cancer.

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