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Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2010 Dec;29(4):595-606. doi: 10.1007/s10555-010-9249-9.

Expression of tenascin-C and its isoforms in the breast.

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Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, University of Leicester, Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, LE2 7LX, UK.


Tenascin-C (TNC) is an extracellular matrix glycoprotein which is frequently up-regulated in a variety of pathological conditions including chronic inflammation and cancer. TNC has been implicated in the modulation of cell migration, proliferation, invasion and angiogenesis. Multiple isoforms of TNC can be generated through the alternative splicing of nine exons located in the fibronectin type III region of the molecule. The profile of isoforms expressed differs between cancers and normal breast, with the fully truncated TNC isoform being predominant in normal and benign tissues and higher molecular weight isoforms induced predominantly in cancer. The addition of extra domains within the fibronectin type III repeat domain greatly affects TNC function with multiple exon combinations available for splicing. Exons 14 and 16 are considered to be tumour-associated and have been shown to affect breast cell line invasion and growth in vitro to a greater extent than the full-length TNC isoform. This mini review will provide a summary of the literature to date regarding the expression of TNC isoforms in the breast and also discuss more recent developments in the field regarding exon AD1.

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