Molecular basis of invasion in breast cancer

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2007 Dec;64(24):3201-18. doi: 10.1007/s00018-007-7388-0.


Cancer cell invasion involves the breaching of tissue barriers by cancer cells, and the subsequent infiltration of these cells throughout the surrounding tissue. In breast cancer, invasion at the molecular level requires the coordinated efforts of numerous processes within the cancer cell and its surroundings. Accumulation of genetic changes which impair the regulation of cell growth and death is generally accepted to initiate cancer. Loss of cell-adhesion molecules, resulting in a loss in tissue architecture, in parallel with matrix remodelling may also confer a motile or migratory advantage to breast cancer cells. The tumour microenvironment may further influence the behaviour of these cancer cells through expression of cytokines, growth factors, and proteases promoting chemotaxis and invasion. This review will attempt to summarise recent work on these fundamental processes influencing or facilitating breast cancer cell invasion. (Part of a Multi-author Review).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / classification
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Metalloproteases / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • Tumor Escape / physiology


  • Metalloproteases