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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 174715, 9 pages
Review Article

The Misregulation of Cell Adhesion Components during Tumorigenesis: Overview and Commentary

Department of Surgery and Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

Received 8 July 2010; Revised 23 August 2010; Accepted 10 September 2010

Academic Editor: Ala-Eddin Al Moustafa

Copyright © 2010 Claudia D. Andl. 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.


Cell adhesion complexes facilitate attachment between cells or the binding of cells to the extracellular matrix. The regulation of cell adhesion is an important step in embryonic development and contributes to tissue homeostasis allowing processes such as differentiation and cell migration. Many mechanisms of cancer progression are reminiscent of embryonic development, for example, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and involve the disruption of cell adhesion and expression changes in components of cell adhesion structures. Tight junctions, adherens junctions, desmosomes, and focal adhesion besides their roles in cell-cell or cell-matrix interaction also possess cell signaling function. Perturbations of such signaling pathways can lead to cancer. This article gives an overview of the common structures of cell adhesion and summarizes the impact of their loss on cancer development and progression with articles highlighted from the present issue.