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International Journal of Cell Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 763283, 6 pages
Review Article

The Role of Lipid Rafts in Cancer Cell Adhesion and Migration

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, 2-2 Yamada-oka, Osaka, Suita 565-0871, Japan

Received 2 August 2011; Revised 20 September 2011; Accepted 21 September 2011

Academic Editor: Motoharu Seiki

Copyright © 2012 Toshiyuki Murai. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Lipid rafts are cholesterol-enriched microdomains of the cell membrane and possess a highly dynamic nature. They have been involved in various cellular functions including the regulation of cell adhesion and membrane signaling through proteins within lipid rafts. The dynamic features of the cancer cell surface may modulate the malignant phenotype of cancer, including adhesion disorders and aggressive phenotypes of migration and invasion. Recently, it was demonstrated that lipid rafts play critical roles in cancer cell adhesion and migration. This article summarizes the important roles of lipid rafts in cancer cell adhesion and migration, with a focus on the current state of knowledge. This article will improve the understanding of cancer progression and lead to the development of novel targets for cancer therapy.