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Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecules and Cancer Progression

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The role of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), such as intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM- 1), vascular endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), E-selectin, and P-selectin, has been studied extensively in the process of inflammation. These molecules are responsible for recruiting leukocytes onto the vascular endothelium before extravasation to the injured tissues. Some circulating cancer cells have been shown to extravasate to a secondary site using a process similar to inflammatory cells. The most studied ligands for CAMs expressed on cancer cells, sialyl Lewis (a/x) antigens, are shown to be involved in adhesion to endothelial cells by binding to E-selectin. This process, shared by inflammatory cells and cancer cells, may partially explain the link between inflammation and tumorigenesis. Furthermore, this process may elucidate the therapeutic benefit of anti-inflammatory drugs in cancer treatment. The complexity of the tumor microenvironment has been revealed in the past decade. Currently, intense investigation is aimed at various aspects of the tumor microenvironment in addition to the tumor cells themselves. Here, we review the role of CAMs in extravasation of circulating cancer cells, a key step in metastasis.

Keywords: E-selectin expression; ICAM-1; Inflammatory Cytokines; Macrosphelide B; VCAM-1; colon cancer

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 315 PRB, 2220 Pierce Avenue, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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