CD146, also known as melanoma cell adhesion molecule or MCAM, is a key cell adhesion protein in vascular endothelial cell activity and angiogenesis. CD146 promotes tumor progression of many cancers including melanoma and prostate. Strikingly, its expression is frequently lost in breast carcinoma cells, and it may act as a suppressor of breast cancer progression. While upstream mechanisms regulating CD146 are well documented, our understanding of the downstream molecular events underlying its mode of action remains to be elucidated. This review aims to focus on the progress in understanding the signaling mechanisms and the functional relevance of CD146, a multifaceted molecule, in cancer with particular emphasis on its role in inhibiting breast cancer progression.
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