The role of cadherin/catenin complex in malignant melanoma

Exp Oncol. 2006 Sep;28(3):187-93.


In the present review article the role of cadherin/catenin complex in cases of malignant melanoma is discussed in some detail. Cadherins represent the most important superfamily of adhesion molecules with epithelial E-cadherin being the most studied. Its role in normal state as well as in cancer invasion and metastasis and some other pathologies is crucial. E-cadherin expression is altered in malignant melanomas and its downregulation or absence is associated with melanoma invasion and metastasis potential. A shift from E-cadherin expression to neural N-cadherin expression in melanocytes is also detected in malignant melanomas formation. In addition, a discussion regarding the role of placental P-cadherin and vascular endothelial VE-cadherin as well as the recently identified molecule of dysadherin, is attempted in brief.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cadherins / analysis
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Catenins / analysis
  • Catenins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Cadherins
  • Catenins