Fibulins and cancer: friend or foe?

Trends Mol Med. 2005 Jul;11(7):336-40. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2005.06.001.


The fibulins are a family of secreted glycoproteins, which are characterised by repeated epidermal-growth-factor-like domains and a unique C-terminal structure. Six distinct fibulin genes, encoding at least nine protein products generated by alternative splicing, have been identified. Considerable evidence is available pointing towards a structural role for fibulins within the extracellular matrix. Fibulins have been shown to modulate cell morphology, growth, adhesion and motility. The dysregulation of certain fibulins occurs in a range of human disorders, including cancer. Indeed, both tumour suppressive and oncogenic activities have been proposed for members of the fibulin family. Herein, we discuss the possible roles of fibulins in cancer, in addition to their diagnostic and therapeutic potential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Growth Inhibitors / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / physiology


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Growth Inhibitors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • fibulin