Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2012 Jun;23(4):402-11. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2012.04.007. Epub 2012 May 11.

The regulation of cancer cell death and metabolism by extracellular matrix attachment.

Author information

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, United States.


The metastasis of cancer cells to distant sites is responsible for the vast majority of cancer mortalities yet the molecular mechanisms underlying this extraordinarily complicated process have yet to be sufficiently elucidated. Recently, it has become clear that cancer cells need to inhibit anoikis, a cell death program induced by loss of attachment to the extracellular matrix (ECM), in order to successfully metastasize. These studies have motivated additional research into the relationship between ECM-detachment and cell viability, much of which reveals integral connections between ECM-detachment and cell metabolism. This review serves to thoroughly discuss the signaling pathways and metabolic changes that are induced by ECM-detachment. In addition, the molecular mechanisms by which cancer cells can alter signaling and metabolism to survive in the absence of ECM-attachment will be highlighted. Furthermore, cell death mechanisms that have been observed or implicated in cells detached from the ECM will also be examined. In aggregate, the studies discussed in this review reveal that ECM-detachment can regulate cancer cell metabolism in a variety of distinct cell types and suggest that interfering with metabolism in ECM-detached cells may be a novel and effective chemotherapeutic approach to selectively inhibit tumor progression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center