Breast cancer is an example of a solid tumour which is well treated in the early stages of disease by surgical excision, but once metastatic spread has occurred, medical therapies (chemotherapy and radiotherapy) are highly toxic, expensive and palliative. It is known that certain tumours exhibit specific patterns of metastasis, chemokines may provide a molecular answer to this mystery. Chemokines and their receptors play important roles in the various stages of tumour development and metastasis. Chemokines interact with their specific receptors as well as interacting with the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) component of proteoglycan. We discuss the basic metastatic process and the involvement of chemokines in breast cancer biology. Finally, we summarize potential therapeutic applications of chemokines and chemokine / glycosaminoglycan interactions including chemokine agonists, antagonists, anti-sense therapy, immunotherapy and soluble GAGs, as well as future perspectives in this field.
Keywords: chemokine, chemokine receptor, glycosaminoglycan, heparin, breast cancer, cancer, metastasis, treatment
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