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Cell Tissue Res. 2014 Mar;355(3):523-7. doi: 10.1007/s00441-014-1851-7. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Endothelial cadherins in cancer.

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Institute of Pathology, Technische Universit├Ąt Dresden, Fetscherstr. 74, 01307, Dresden, Germany,


Cadherins are cell adhesion receptors that play important roles in embryogenesis and tissue homoeostasis. Endothelial cells express various members of the cadherin superfamily, in particular vascular endothelial (VE-) cadherin, which is the main adhesion receptor of endothelial adherens junctions and neural (N-) cadherin, which is normally localized outside the junctions and may mediate adhesion between endothelial cells and non-endothelial cells. Dysregulation of cadherin expression has been implicated in tumor progression, in particular the loss of epithelial (E-) cadherin expression or function and the gain of N-cadherin. Moreover, more recently, aberrant expression of VE-cadherin was observed in certain cancer types. In breast carcinoma, VE-cadherin was shown to promote tumor cell proliferation and invasion through enhancing TGF-╬▓ signaling. Thus, in breast cancer, the cadherin switch involves another player, vascular endothelial cadherin, which is part of an intricate interplay of classical cadherins in breast cancer progression.

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