Towards understanding the mechanisms of actions of carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 6 in cancer progression

Balsam Rizeq, Zain Zakaria, Allal Ouhtit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Human carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is the prototypic member of a family of highly related cell surface glycoproteins that includes carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 6 (CEACAM6) and others. CEACAM6 (formerly NCA), which belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily, is a cell adhesion protein of the CEA family. It is normally expressed on the epithelial surfaces and on the surface of myeloid cells (CD66c). CEACAM6 is a multi-functional glycoprotein that mediates homotypic binding with other CEA family members and heterotypic binding with integrin receptors. It functions by organizing tissue architecture and regulating different signal transduction, while aberrant expression leads to the development of human malignancies. It was first discovered in proliferating cells of adenomas and hyperplastic polyps in comparison to benign colonic tissue when overexpressed on the surface of various cell types in model systems. CEACAM6 functions as a pan-inhibitor of cell differentiation and cell polarization, and it also causes distortion of tissue architecture. Moreover, overexpression of CEACAM6 modulates cancer progression through aberrant cell differentiation, anti-apoptosis, cell growth and resistance to therapeutic agents. In addition, CEACAM6 overexpression in multiple malignancies promotes cell invasion and metastasis, thereby representing an acquired advantage of tumor cells directly responsible for an invasive phenotype. This review focuses on the findings supporting the mechanisms of actions linking the oncogenic potential of CEACAM6 to the onset of cancer progression and pathogenesis, especially in breast cancer, and to validating CEACAM6 as a target to pave the way towards the design of efficient therapeutic strategies against breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • adhesion
  • cancer
  • invasion and metastasis
  • review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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