Tumor suppressor gene E-cadherin and its role in normal and malignant cells

Cancer Cell Int. 2003 Oct 14;3(1):17. doi: 10.1186/1475-2867-3-17.


E-cadherin tumor suppressor genes are particularly active area of research in development and tumorigenesis. The calcium-dependent interactions among E-cadherin molecules are critical for the formation and maintenance of adherent junctions in areas of epithelial cell-cell contact. Loss of E-cadherin-mediated-adhesion characterises the transition from benign lesions to invasive, metastatic cancer. Nevertheless, there is evidence that E-cadherins may also play a role in the wnt signal transduction pathway, together with other key molecules involved in it, such as beta-catenins and adenomatous poliposis coli gene products.The structure and function of E-cadherin, gene and protein, in normal as well as in tumor cells are reviewed in this paper.