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Sci. Signal., 31 May 2011
Vol. 4, Issue 175, p. pe28
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002153]


Cancer Cells Exploit the Eph-Ephrin System to Promote Invasion and Metastasis: Tales of Unwitting Partners

Bingcheng Wang*

Rammelkamp Center for Research and Department of Medicine, MetroHealth Campus; and Department of Pharmacology and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 2500 MetroHealth Drive, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA.

Abstract: The Eph subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases and their membrane-anchored ephrin ligands mediate cell-cell contact signaling and are versatile regulators of cell migration and tissue patterning, which are often exploited by cancer cells during tumor progression. New evidence shows that prostate cancer cells use EphA2 and EphA4 receptors and ephrin-As to mediate homotypic contact inhibition of locomotion while co-opting ephrin-B2 on stromal cells through EphB3 and EphB4 receptors to propel migration. These processes could enhance cancer cell scattering from the primary tumor mass and promote unimpeded migration and invasion through the stromal space. The results provide another example in which Eph receptors are converted into pro-oncogenic proteins, contrary to their often-described tumor suppressor roles in normal tissues.

* Corresponding author. Telephone, +1-216-778-4256; fax, +1-216-778-4321; e-mail, bxw14{at}

Citation: B. Wang, Cancer Cells Exploit the Eph-Ephrin System to Promote Invasion and Metastasis: Tales of Unwitting Partners. Sci. Signal. 4, pe28 (2011).

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