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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2012 Feb;23(1):109-15. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2011.10.019. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Ephs and ephrins in cancer: ephrin-A1 signalling.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Brain Tumor Center of Excellence, Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


Ephrin-A1 and its primary receptor, EphA2, are involved in numerous physiological processes and have been intensely studied for their roles in malignancy. Ephrin-Eph signalling is complex on its own and is also cell-type dependent, making elucidation of the exact role of ephrin-A1 in neoplasia challenging. Multiple oncogenic signalling pathways, such as MAP/ERK and PI3K are affected by ephrin-A1, and in some cases evidence suggests the promotion of a specific pathway in one cell or cancer type and inhibition of the same pathway in another type of cell or cancer. Ephrin-A1 also plays an integral role in angiogenesis and tumor neovascularization. Until recently, studies investigating ephrins focused on the ligands as GPI-anchored proteins that required membrane anchoring or artificial clustering for Eph receptor activation. However, recent studies have demonstrated a functional role for soluble, monomeric ephrin-A1. This review will focus on various forms of ephrin-A1-specific signalling in human malignancy.

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