The role of N-cadherin, MCAM and beta3 integrin in melanoma progression, proliferation, migration and invasion

Cancer Biol Ther. 2006 Oct;5(10):1375-82. doi: 10.4161/cbt.5.10.3241. Epub 2006 Oct 26.


Melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, which accounts for 75% of all skin cancer-related deaths, continues to rise at an alarming rate worldwide. Despite a favorable cure rate when surgically removed at an early stage, the response rate of patients with metastatic disease to single agent chemotherapy is less than 15%, and biologic therapies are only marginally effective. Given this bleak picture, there is a great need to identify and characterize genes that play an important role in the advanced stages of melanoma and thus, may represent valuable targets for clinical therapy. The cell adhesion molecules N-cadherin, MCAM and beta3 integrin have been suggested to represent melanoma progression markers; yet, little is known as to whether they may constitute therapeutic targets for the disease. To provide information regarding this aspect, we determined by way of whole-genome and tissue microarray analysis, their level of expression concordant with melanoma progression, and via RNA interference and antisense technology, their role in melanoma cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. The results of these studies demonstrate that N-cadherin and beta3 integrin expression correlates with progression to advanced-stage melanoma, whereas expression of MCAM does not. On the other hand, MCAM and beta3 integrin are the two adhesion molecules that play a pivotal role in melanoma cell migration and invasion, and for this reason, may represent valuable targets for melanoma therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • CD146 Antigen / genetics
  • Cadherins / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Integrin beta3 / genetics*
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness


  • CD146 Antigen
  • Cadherins
  • Integrin beta3
  • MCAM protein, human