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Cell signalling pathways 

Cell signalling pathways
Chapter:
Cell signalling pathways
Author(s):

Stefan Knapp

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199656103.003.0003

May 25, 2017: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

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date: 22 August 2019

Development and progression of cancer is driven by dysfunctional signalling pathways that promote tumour growth and invasion. The combined effect of a variety of deregulated key pathways leads to the acquisition of capabilities in cancer that are tightly controlled in normal cells. These altered cellular properties strongly promote cancer cell proliferation and the evasion of cellular growth suppression mechanisms and apoptosis. Cancer-specific alterations in signalling pathways also overcome limitations of cellular replication potential. In late-stage cancers, communication of cancer cells with the tumour microenvironment leads to tissue remodelling and reprogramming, including the formation of new blood vessels and the spread of tumour cells in the body. These complex cellular changes are controlled by a myriad of cellular signalling pathways. The chapter reviews the principal regulatory mechanisms that control key cancer signalling pathways, particularly focusing on pathways that have been successfully targeted in cancer therapy.

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