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Matrix Biol. 2009 Oct;28(8):445-55. doi: 10.1016/j.matbio.2009.07.008. Epub 2009 Aug 15.

Defining the role of laminin-332 in carcinoma.

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Meharry Medical College, Department of Microbial Pathogenesis & Immune Response; Nashville, TN 37232-6840, USA.


The deadly feature of cancer, metastasis, requires invasion of cells through basement membranes (BM), which normally act as barriers between tissue compartments. In the case of many epithelially-derived cancers (carcinomas), laminin-332 (Ln-332) is a key component of the BM barrier. This review provides a historical examination of Ln-332 from its discovery through identification of its functions in BM and possible role in carcinomas. Current understanding points to distinct roles for the three Ln-332 subunits (alpha3, beta3, gamma2) in cell adhesion, extracellular matrix stability, and cell signaling processes in cancer. Given the large number of studies linking Ln-332 gamma2 subunit with cancer prognosis, particular attention is given to the crucial role of this subunit in cancer invasion and to the unanswered questions in this area.

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