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Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule in Cancer: Expression and Mechanisms

  • Silvia Zecchini
  • Ugo CavallaroEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 663)

Abstract

Neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) was initially characterized in cells of the nervous system, where its role in various neural processes is well established. However, NCAM is also expressed in a wide variety of non-neuronal cell types, where its function has been remained largely elusive. Importantly, the expression of NCAM appears to be deregulated in many different cancer types, pointing to a possible role in tumor development. Expression studies in cancer and functional studies in various experimental settings indicate that NCAM can exert both a positive and a negative regulation on cancer progression, depending on the tumor context.

This review will provide an overview of tumor-associated alterations in NCAM expression, discussing a subset of cellular and molecular mechanisms that likely underlie the heterogeneous function of NCAM in human cancer.

Keywords

NCAM Tumor progression Metastasis Angiogenesis Fibroblast growth factor receptor Signaling 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We apologize to all colleagues whose important work could not be cited. The work in the authors’ laboratory is supported by the Italian Association for Cancer Research, the Association for International Cancer Research, the Telethon Foundation, and the Cariplo Foundation. We thank C. Francavilla and G. Pajè for the help in preparing the figures.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IFOM - The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology, IFOM-IEO CampusMilanoItaly

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