Semaphorin signals on the road to cancer invasion and metastasis.

Sabrina Rizzolio, Luca Tamagnone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Semaphorins are a large family of secreted and membrane-bound molecules initially implicated in the development of the nervous system and in axon guidance. More recently, they have been found to regulate cell adhesion and cell motility, angiogenesis, immune function and tumour progression. Notably, Semaphorins have been implicated with opposite functions in cancer: either as putative tumor suppressors and anti-angiogenic factors, or as mediating tumour angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis. Interestingly, Semaphorins may display divergent activities in different cell types. These multifaceted functions may be explained by the involvement of different kinds of semaphorin receptor complexes, and by the consequent activation of multiple signaling pathways, in different cells or different functional stages. Semaphorin signaling is largely mediated by the Plexins. However, semaphorin receptor complexes may also include Neuropilins and tyrosine kinases implicated in cancer. In this review, we will focus on major open questions concerning the potential role of Semaphorin signals in cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalCell Adhesion and Migration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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