Extracellular matrix components in breast carcinomas

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28 Citations (Scopus)


A malignant process interferes with the normal 'programme' of extracellular matrix biosynthesis and can modify extensively the structure and composition of the matrix. This effect appears to be attributable to several processes such as direct production of some selected matrix macromolecules by malignant cells or indirectly by the production of factors by malignant cells interfering with the regulation of normal matrix production. Other possibilities may also exist, such as the direct action of an environmental carcinogen on otherwise normal mesenchymal cells. The result is a more or less profound modification of tissue structure and composition with possible feedback effects on the malignant process. Some examples will be discussed such as elastin production by some tumours as well as the biosynthesis of some other selected matrix macromolecules as tenascin and osteopontin by breast tumours. Although the detailed mechanisms of these specific matrix productions is not yet completely elucidated, the rapidly increasing knowledge on the regulation of specific matrix production process and deranged matrix production might represent a new area of crosstalk between cancer research and matrix biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-257
Number of pages15
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Breast cancer
  • Elastase
  • Elastin
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Osteopontin
  • Tenascin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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