Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia

, Volume 12, Issue 2–3, pp 127–133 | Cite as

Differential Cadherin Expression: Potential Markers for Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transformation During Tumor Progression

  • Georgia Agiostratidou
  • James Hulit
  • Greg R. Phillips
  • Rachel B. Hazan


The cadherin family of adhesion molecules regulates cell–cell interactions during development and in tissues. The prototypical cadherin, E-cadherin, is responsible for maintaining interactions of epithelial cells and is frequently downregulated during tumor progression. N-cadherin, normally found in fibroblasts and neural cells, can be upregulated during tumor progression and can increase the invasiveness of tumor cells. The proinvasive effects of N-cadherin expression in tumor cells result from two possible mechanisms: promotion of tumor cell interactions with the N-cadherin-expressing microenvironment, or enhancement of signaling via the fibroblast growth factor receptor. The downregulation of E-cadherin and the upregulation of N-cadherin in tumors may be a result of an epithelial to mesenchymal transformation (EMT) of tumor cells, which is notoriously difficult to detect in vivo. Double labeling of individual tumors with specific E- and N-cadherin antibodies suggests that EMT can occur heterogeneously and/or transiently within an invasive tumor.


Adhesion Metastasis Breast cancer Signaling Invasion 



epithelial to mesenchymal transition


matrix metalloprotease


epidermal growth factor


insulin growth factor


fibroblast growth factor


hepatocyte growth factor


transforming growth factor beta


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgia Agiostratidou
    • 1
  • James Hulit
    • 1
  • Greg R. Phillips
    • 2
  • Rachel B. Hazan
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PathologyAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA
  2. 2.Fishberg Department of NeuroscienceMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Albert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA

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