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J Oncol. 2012;2012:853797. doi: 10.1155/2012/853797. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Dual Roles of METCAM in the Progression of Different Cancers.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University, School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


METCAM, an integral membrane cell adhesion molecule (CAM) in the Ig-like gene superfamily, is capable of performing typical functions of CAMs, such as mediating cell-cell and cell-extracellular interactions, crosstalk with intracellular signaling pathways, and modulating social behaviors of cells. METCAM is expressed in about nine normal cells/tissues. Aberrant expression of METCAM has been associated with the progression of several epithelial tumors. Further in vitro and in vivo studies show that METCAM plays a dual role in the progression of different tumors. It can promote the malignant progression of several tumors. On the other hand, it can suppress the malignant progression of other tumors. We suggest that the role of METCAM in the progression of different cancer types may be modulated by different intrinsic factors present in different cancer cells and also in different stromal microenvironment. Many possible mechanisms mediated by this CAM during early tumor development and metastasis are suggested.

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