The integrin family of cell surface receptors were principally thought to be involved in cell adhesion. Intense study has shown that these glycoproteins also regulate a diverse range of physiological processes. Inappropriate activation of integrins has been implicated in many pathological processes. Recent studies have shown that these molecules play a key role in the early stages of liver metastasis in colorectal cancer. In vivo experiments have demonstrated that integrins are involved in tumour cell targeting, arrest, adhesion and migration within the hepatic microcirculation. Indeed functional blocking of specific integrins has been shown to significantly impair these early stages of metastasis development. This review examines the current knowledge of integrin participation in this area and highlights the future therapeutic implications. Future targeted therapy against specific integrins would allow not only functional blocking but would provide the potential to deliver specific anti-cancer therapy.
Keywords: Colorectal cancer, liver metastasis, integrin, treatment
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