Skip to main content

Left-Right Asymmetry in Embryonic Development and Breast Cancer: Common Molecular Determinants?

Buy Article:

$63.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


At the first glance the vertebrate body appears to be symmetric, however, left and right sides are different. This is tightly controlled during embryonic development, and may as well affect the spatial occurrence of diseases. In the embryo, determination of the left and right sides takes place before and during gastrulation. Its failure results in heterotaxia, a diverse group of congenital laterality disorders characterized by left-right displacement of organs. In recent years, our knowledge about the molecular control of left-right asymmetry during embryonic development has grown considerably. However, almost nothing is known about the etiology of cancer laterality. Mammary carcinoma is 5 - 10% more likely to arise in the left breast. The left side of the body is also 10% more prone to melanoma development. Whereas the right predominance of lung, ovarian and testicular cancer might be explained by the greater organ mass on that side, possible reasons for left predominance of mammary carcinoma and melanoma are highly speculative. Sleeping behavior, handedness, nursing behavior and asymmetric sun exposure were named. A possible interrelation between the molecular control of left-right asymmetry and cancer has not yet been discussed in detail. Here we present an overview of molecules involved in both processes, focusing on laterality of breast cancer. Several secreted and membrane-bound growth factors such as Nodal, Lefty, FGF, HB-EGF and HGF as well as transcription factors (e.g. Pitx2, FoxA2) may be candidates with such overlapping functions. Studies on cancer laterality in transgenic mice are needed to make progress in this neglected research field.

Keywords: Breast cancer; FGF; FoxA2; HB-EGF; HGF; Laterality; Left-right asymmetry; Lefty; Nodal; Notch; Pitx2

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • 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.

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more
Real Time Web Analytics