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Br J Cancer. 2013 Mar 5;108(4):755-61. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.592. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Matricellular proteins: priming the tumour microenvironment for cancer development and metastasis.

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Division of Gastroenterology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, 951 BRB, 421 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Matricellular proteins have been classified as a family of non-structural matrix proteins capable of modulating a variety of biological processes within the extracellular matrix (ECM). These proteins are expressed dynamically and their cellular functions are highly dependent upon cues from the local environment. Recent studies have shown an increasing appreciation of the key roles these ECM proteins play within the tumour microenvironment. Induced by either tumour cells or tumour stromal components, matricellular proteins initiate downstream signalling events that lead to proliferation, invasion, matrix remodelling and dissemination to pre-metastatic niches in other organs. In this review, we summarise and discuss the current knowledge of the diverse roles these proteins play within the microenvironment that influences tumour progression and potential for future therapies targeting the tumour microenvironment.

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