Adhesion-dependent cell signaling is known to be important in carcinogenesis. It is postulated that several types of adhesion molecules act as tumor suppressor genes by enforcing cell-substrate and cell-cell adhesion thereby preventing the migration of cells and their invasion into surrounding tissues. Recent evidence, however, suggests that disruption of adhesion systems can both initiate neoplastic transformation and contribute a rate-limiting step to progression. Adhesion may modulate neoplastic processes by altering pathways that control genomic stability. Analysis of the adhesion-controlled inactivation of the p53 protein and the concomitant relaxation of cell cycle checkpoint control could identify the critical contributions of adhesion-mediated influences to carcinogenesis.