Cellular adhesion molecules are critical components during carcinogenesis and cancer metastasis and contribute to the mechanisms underlying resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs. Since drug resistance is associated with a very poor prognosis for patients with cancer, a better understanding of the role of adhesion molecules could improve patient outcome by identifying novel mechanisms that promote drug resistance. Epigenetic factors, such as cellular adhesion, are shown to promote the resistance of cancers to various chemotherapeutic drugs by altering cellular signalling pathways that activate cellular growth and inhibit apoptosis. In addition, cellular adhesion molecules can provide a means to specifically target more conventional chemotherapy to the unique tumour microenvironment. However, the expression and function of cellular adhesion molecules, and the signals activated by adhesion, are highly interrelated making the development of rational therapies more difficult.
Keywords: Adhesion, cancer, drug targeting, microenvironment, signalling
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