Endothelial cadherins in cancer

Cell Tissue Res. 2014 Mar;355(3):523-7. doi: 10.1007/s00441-014-1851-7. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Cadherins are cell adhesion receptors that play important roles in embryogenesis and tissue homoeostasis. Endothelial cells express various members of the cadherin superfamily, in particular vascular endothelial (VE-) cadherin, which is the main adhesion receptor of endothelial adherens junctions and neural (N-) cadherin, which is normally localized outside the junctions and may mediate adhesion between endothelial cells and non-endothelial cells. Dysregulation of cadherin expression has been implicated in tumor progression, in particular the loss of epithelial (E-) cadherin expression or function and the gain of N-cadherin. Moreover, more recently, aberrant expression of VE-cadherin was observed in certain cancer types. In breast carcinoma, VE-cadherin was shown to promote tumor cell proliferation and invasion through enhancing TGF-β signaling. Thus, in breast cancer, the cadherin switch involves another player, vascular endothelial cadherin, which is part of an intricate interplay of classical cadherins in breast cancer progression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Endothelial Cells / pathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans


  • Cadherins