The A Disintegrin And Metalloprotease (ADAM) proteins belong to the metzincin-superfamily of Zndependent metalloproteinases that shed the extracellular domains of membrane-bound growth factors, cytokines and their receptors. The latter play a central role in cell signaling and contribute a potential target in cancer therapy. Of particular interest are the ErBB/HER family of growth factor receptors associated with elevated intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity. Overexpression of ADAMs and cell signaling components have also been implicated in the development and progression of a variety of tumor types. Emerging evidence has suggested that the ADAM proteins are involved in tumour cell proliferation, in angiogenesis as well as metastasis. Therefore, strategies targeting ADAMs may constitute an important target for the design of cancer drugs. The review will focus on current understanding of the role of ADAM in the physiological and pathological functions associated with cancer. It is the intention of the review to provide insights which may assist in the development of ADAM-based approaches for the treatment of human cancers.
Keywords: ADAM protein, disintegrins, RGD motif, integrin, disintegrin-like domain, VEGFR, ERBB receptor
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