Eph receptors and ephrins in cancer: bidirectional signalling and beyond

Nat Rev Cancer. 2010 Mar;10(3):165-80. doi: 10.1038/nrc2806.


The Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ephrin ligands have intriguing expression patterns in cancer cells and tumour blood vessels, which suggest important roles for their bidirectional signals in many aspects of cancer development and progression. Eph gene mutations probably also contribute to cancer pathogenesis. Eph receptors and ephrins have been shown to affect the growth, migration and invasion of cancer cells in culture as well as tumour growth, invasiveness, angiogenesis and metastasis in vivo. However, Eph signalling activities in cancer seem to be complex, and are characterized by puzzling dichotomies. Nevertheless, the Eph receptors are promising new therapeutic targets in cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ephrins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Eph Family / genetics
  • Receptors, Eph Family / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Ephrins
  • Receptors, Eph Family