Clinging to life: cell to matrix adhesion and cell survival

Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2005 Sep;24(3):425-39. doi: 10.1007/s10555-005-5134-3.


Cell to matrix adhesion regulates cellular homeostasis in multiple ways. Integrin attachment to the extracellular matrix mediates this regulation through direct and indirect connections to the actin cytoskeleton, growth factor receptors, and intracellular signal transduction cascades. Disruption of this connection to the extracellular matrix has deleterious effects on cell survival. It leads to a specific type of apoptosis known as anoikis in most non-transformed cell types. Anchorage independent growth is a critical step in the tumorigenic transformation of cells. Thus, breaching the anoikis barrier disrupts the cell's defenses against transformation. This review examines recent investigations into the molecular mechanisms of anoikis to illustrate current understanding of this important process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anoikis
  • Apoptosis
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Bcl-2-Like Protein 11
  • Cell Adhesion*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Survival
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • DNA Damage
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • BCL2L11 protein, human
  • Bcl-2-Like Protein 11
  • Integrins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • integrin-linked kinase
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases