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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2012 Dec;23(6):357-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2012.06.004. Epub 2012 Jun 30.

Neurotrophins and their receptors in breast cancer.

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School of Biomedical Sciences & Pharmacy, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia.


Growth factors of the neurotrophin family and their receptors have been mainly studied in the nervous system, but they are also expressed in carcinomas, and in breast cancer they significantly impact tumor cell growth and metastasis through various signaling pathways. Nerve growth factor and its precursor proNGF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-4/5 stimulate breast cancer cells through an autocrine loop involving the tyrosine kinase receptors TrkA, TrkB as well as its truncated form TrkB.T1 and the p75(NTR) death receptor. Preclinical studies have shown that targeting neurotrophins and their receptors induce an inhibition of breast cancer cell survival, proliferation and invasion. Furthermore, targeting neurotrophins may also decrease tumor-induced cancer pain and this additional effect further strengthens their clinical relevance.

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