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Chang Gung Med J. 2012 Jan-Feb;35(1):15-27.

Adhesion family of G protein-coupled receptors and cancer.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan.


The adhesion-class G protein-coupled receptors (adhesion-GPCRs) constitute the second largest GPCR sub-family in humans. Adhesion-GPCRs are defined by the chimeric structure of an unusually large extracellular cell-adhesion domain and a GPCR-like seven-pass transmembrane domain. Adhesion-GPCRs are hence expected to display both cellular adhesion and signaling functions in many biological systems. Adhesion-GPCRs are normally expressed in the central nervous, immune, and reproductive systems in a cell type- or tissue-restricted fashion. However, aberrant expression of distinct adhesion-GPCR molecules has been identified in various human cancers with some of the receptors closely associated with cancer development. Tumor-associated adhesion-GPCRs are thought to involve in tumorigenesis by affecting the growth of tumor cells, angiogenesis, tumor cell migration, invasion and metastasis either positively or negatively. Furthermore, some adhesion-GPCRs are considered potential biomarkers for specific types of cancers. In this review article, the expressional characteristics and functional role of cancer-associated adhesion-GPCRs are discussed in depth.

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