The FERM family proteins in cancer invasion and metastasis

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jan 1;16:1536-50. doi: 10.2741/3803.


Metastasis is the major cause of death in patients with cancer. Metastatic cancer cells undergo dramatic molecular and cellular changes by remodeling their cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion and their actin cytoskeleton, molecular processes that involve the activity of various signaling networks. The FERM family proteins can link transmembrane proteins to the cytoskeleton or link kinase and/or phosphatase enzymatic activity to the plasma membrane. They thus are involved not only in cell-extracellular matrix interactions and cell-cell communication but also in apoptosis, carcinogenesis and metastasis. This review will summarize the role and mechanism of FERM proteins, with particular reference to the ERM and Ehm2 proteins in cancer metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Microfilament Proteins / physiology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / physiopathology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / physiopathology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neurofibromin 2 / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • EPB41L4B protein, human
  • ETV5 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Neurofibromin 2
  • Transcription Factors
  • ezrin
  • protein 4.1B, human
  • moesin
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases