Functions of CXCL12 and CXCR4 in breast cancer

Cancer Lett. 2006 Jul 8;238(1):30-41. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2005.06.021. Epub 2005 Jul 25.


The chemokine CXCL12 (SDF-1) and its cognate receptor CXCR4 were first identified in the context of trafficking and homeostasis of immune cells, such as T lymphocytes. Subsequently, it has been determined that CXCR4 regulates several key processes in a wide variety of cancers. Functions of CXCL12 and CXCR4 in cancer first were described in metastatic breast cancer, and more recent studies also have identified roles for this signaling pathway in primary breast tumors. This review focuses on functions of CXCR4 and CXCL12 in primary and metastatic breast cancer, including molecular mechanisms of action and relationships of this pathway to other key regulators of breast cancer progression. We also describe pre-clinical studies indicating the potential to exploit CXCR4 as a new molecular target for diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Chemokines, CXC / physiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / drug effects
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • CXCL12 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Chemokines, CXC
  • Receptors, CXCR4