Adhesion family of G protein-coupled receptors and cancer

Chang Gung Med J. 2012 Jan-Feb;35(1):15-27. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.106170.


The adhesion-class G protein-coupled receptors (adhesion-GPCRs) constitute the second largest GPCR sub-family in humans. Adhesion-GPCRs are defined by the chimeric structure of an unusually large extracellular cell-adhesion domain and a GPCR-like seven-pass transmembrane domain. Adhesion-GPCRs are hence expected to display both cellular adhesion and signaling functions in many biological systems. Adhesion-GPCRs are normally expressed in the central nervous, immune, and reproductive systems in a cell type- or tissue-restricted fashion. However, aberrant expression of distinct adhesion-GPCR molecules has been identified in various human cancers with some of the receptors closely associated with cancer development. Tumor-associated adhesion-GPCRs are thought to involve in tumorigenesis by affecting the growth of tumor cells, angiogenesis, tumor cell migration, invasion and metastasis either positively or negatively. Furthermore, some adhesion-GPCRs are considered potential biomarkers for specific types of cancers. In this review article, the expressional characteristics and functional role of cancer-associated adhesion-GPCRs are discussed in depth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / chemistry
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled