Clinical & Experimental Metastasis

, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 657–672 | Cite as

Rho GTPases: functions and association with cancer

  • Saskia I. J. Ellenbroek
  • John G. Collard
Reseach Paper


Rho GTPases are small proteins that act as binary molecular switches in a wide range of signalling pathways upon stimulation of cell surface receptors. Three different classes of regulatory proteins control their activity. In the activated state small GTPases are able to bind a variety of effector proteins and initiate downstream signalling. Rho GTPases regulate important cellular processes ranging from cytoskeletal remodelling and gene expression to cell proliferation and membrane trafficking. Therefore it is not surprising that deregulated Rho signalling can contribute to disturbed cellular phenotypes in a wide range of diseases. The main focus of this review will be the diversity of functions of Rho GTPases and the effects of aberrant Rho GTPase signalling in various aspects of cancer.


Rho GTPases Rac Tiam1 Signalling Cell migration Cell invasion Cancer Metastasis Tumour progression 



Adherens junction


Actin-related protein


Dbl homology


Dedicator of cytokinesis


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition


Extracellular signal-regulated kinase


GTPase-activating protein


Guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor


Guanine nucleotide exchange factor


Matrix metalloproteinase


Nuclear factor κB


Neural Wiskott-Aldrich-syndrome protein


p21-activated kinase


Pleckstrin homology


Protein kinase C


Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase


Reactive oxygen species


Serum response factor


T-lymphoma invasion and metastasis 1


Tight junction


WASP-like verprolin-homologous protein


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cell BiologyThe Netherlands Cancer InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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