The quest for therapeutic specificity is implicit in all branches of medicine. In cancer treatment, cytotoxic agents, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, comprise the current therapeutic modality. Unfortunately, when used against most solid malignancies, their therapeutic indices are relatively low due to the significant damage they inflict on normal tissues. Furthermore, cure rates have remained essentially static over the last two decades. Specificity in killing neoplastic cells, while sparing healthy ones is therefore the only alternative approach, with several molecules qualifying as candidates for targeting therapy. Reduction of cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion are, early tumorigenesis events also implicated in the invasive and metastatic process. The fact that abnormal adhesive marker expression is a feature commonly shared by most malignancies, along with its tendency to occur as both an early and late event in neoplastic development, makes these molecules potential candidates for antineoplastic targeted therapies. This review presents the perspectives of specific anti-adhesion molecule targeting as a possible therapeutic approach in neoplastic diseases.
Keywords: Cell adhesion, CEA, E-cadherin-catenin complex, integrins, selectins, targeted therapy
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