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01.12.2017 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Molecular Cancer 1/2017

Vasculogenic mimicry signaling revisited: focus on non-vascular VE-cadherin

Zeitschrift:
Molecular Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2017
Autoren:
Daniel Delgado-Bellido, Santiago Serrano-Saenz, Mónica Fernández-Cortés, F. Javier Oliver

Abstract

Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) is a blood supply system independent of endothelial vessels in tumor cells from different origins. It reflects the plasticity of aggressive tumor cells that express vascular cell markers and line tumor vasculature. The presence of VM is associated with a high tumor grade, short survival, invasion and metastasis. Endothelial cells (ECs) express various members of the cadherin superfamily, in particular vascular endothelial (VE-) cadherin, which is the main adhesion receptor of endothelial adherent junctions. Aberrant extra-vascular expression of VE-cadherin has been observed in certain cancer types associated with VM. In this review we focus on non-endothelial VE-cadherin as a prominent factor involved in the acquisition of tubules-like structures by aggressive tumor cells and we summarize the specific signaling pathways, the association with trans-differentiation and stem-like phenotype and the therapeutic opportunities derived from the in-depth knowledge of the peculiarities of the biology of VE-cadherin and other key components of VM.
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