Cell adhesion and urothelial bladder cancer: the role of cadherin switching and related phenomena

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Cadherins are mediators of cell-cell adhesion in epithelial tissues. E-cadherin is a known tumour suppressor and plays a central role in suppressing the invasive phenotype of cancer cells. However, the abnormal expression of N- and P-cadherin ('cadherin switching', CS) has been shown to promote a more invasive and m̀alignant phenotype of cancer, with P-cadherin possibly acting as a key mediator of invasion and metastasis in bladder cancer. Cadherins are also implicated in numerous signalling events related to embryonic development, tissue morphogenesis and homeostasis. It is these wide ranging effects and the serious implications of CS that make the cadherin cell adhesion molecules and their related pathways strong candidate targets for the inhibition of cancer progression, including bladder cancer. This review focuses on CS in the context of bladder cancer and in particular the switch to P-cadherin expression, and discusses other related molecules and phenomena, including EpCAM and the development of the cancer stem cell phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20140042
JournalRoyal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Issue number1661
Early online date22 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


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