The intervention of immunoglobulin superfamily cell adhesion molecules in the progression of colorectal cancer and liver metastasis
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common malignancy which presents a high metastatic potential toward the liver. The hepatic colonisation determines the prognosis of the disease and cell adhesion molecules play a critical role in this process. The immunoglobulin superfamily includes numerous proteins that mediate adhesion among malignant and normal cells in the primary site of CRC, but also in the hepatic metastases. These molecules intervene in cell detachment, cancer progression, intra- and extravasation, as well as attachment within the liver sinusoids. Carcinoembryonic antigen, probably the most popular member of the immunoglobulin superfamily, is a well-established prognostic clinical factor of particular value. Current research attempts to exploit these adhesion molecules in new diagnostic and therapeutic applications.