Netrin-1 in the developing enteric nervous system and colorectal cancer

Trends Mol Med. 2012 Sep;18(9):544-54. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2012.07.001. Epub 2012 Aug 21.


Netrin-1 is a well-characterised chemoattractant involved in neuronal guidance in the developing enteric nervous system (ENS), but it is also a regulator of tumorigenesis. Two of its well-characterised receptors, deleted in colorectal cancer (DCC) and uncoordinated-5 homolog (UNC-5H), belong to a family of dependence receptors that transmit either pro- or anti-apoptosis signals depending on the availability of ligand, in this case netrin-1. This review summarises these two effects of netrin-1 and highlights the additional research needed information about to allow better utilisation of netrin-1 as a therapeutic target for axonal regeneration in the context of colorectal cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Chemotactic Factors / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Enteric Nervous System / embryology
  • Enteric Nervous System / growth & development
  • Enteric Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Netrin-1
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*


  • Chemotactic Factors
  • NTN1 protein, human
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Netrin-1