Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 28, Issue 1–2, pp 137–149 | Cite as

Invadopodia: specialized tumor cell structures for the focal degradation of the extracellular matrix

  • Roberto Buccione
  • Giusi Caldieri
  • Inmaculada Ayala


Invasive tumor–derived or transformed cells, cultured on a flat extracellular matrix substratum, extend specialized proteolytically active plasma membrane protrusions. These structures, termed invadopodia, are responsible for the focal degradation of the underlying substrate. Considerable progress has been made in recent years towards understanding the basic molecular components and regulatory circuits and the ultrastructural features of invadopodia. This has generated substantial interest in invadopodia as a paradigm to study the complex interactions between the intracellular trafficking, signal transduction and cytoskeleton regulation machineries; hopes are high that they may also represent valid biological targets to help advance the anti–cancer drug discovery process. Current knowledge will be reviewed here with an emphasis on the many open questions in invadopodia biology.


Invadopodia Cell adhesion Cell invasion Extracellular matrix degradation 



Work from the Authors’ laboratory was supported by grants to RB from the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC, Milano, Italy), the European Commission (contract LSHC-CT-2004-503049), the Ministero della Salute (Ricerca finalizzata (Art. 12 bis D.Lvo 502/92) and the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia di Teramo. GC was supported by a fellowship from the “Calogero Musarra” Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Buccione
    • 1
  • Giusi Caldieri
    • 1
  • Inmaculada Ayala
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology and OncologyTumor Cell Invasion LaboratoryS. Maria ImbaroItaly

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