, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 223-236

Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM/CD166): Signaling at the divide of melanoma cell clustering and cell migration?

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Orchestrated modulation of cell adhesion is essential for development and homeostasis in multicellular organisms. It optimizes embedding of the cell in its dynamic environment and facilitates appropriate cell responses and intercellular communication. Chronic disturbance of this delicate equilibrium causes defects in tissue architecture and sometimes cancer. In tumor cell biology, dynamic control of adhesion molecules is important to proceed through the metastatic cascade and to allow cell release from the primary tumor, invasion of the surrounding matrix, intravasation and adhesion to vascular endothelial cells to facilitate extravasation. Intertwined and multiple adhesive interactions rather than individual interactions presumably play critical roles in neoplastic development. Yet, knowledge of the contribution of each individual adhesion molecule is essential to unravel this network of interactions. This review will focus on activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM/CD166) and its role in human melanoma progression. It is hypothesized that ALCAM may function as a cell surface sensor to register local growth saturation and to regulate cellular signaling and dynamic responses.