Mammary gland growth factors: roles in normal development and in cancer

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Published on Friday, 07 September 2018

Abstract

Normal development of the mammary gland proceeds via interactions between the epithelium and the mesenchyme that start during embryogenesis and continue during pubertal outgrowth and differentiation.

The function of specific peptide growth factors that bind members of the receptor tyrosine kinase family and the cytokine receptor family are required at each stage.

In many cases the peptides are produced in one compartment and act on receptors in the other compartment.

One of the striking differences between normal development and cancer is the loss of this cross-talk.

Mammary tumor cells often produce a peptide and express the receptor on the same cell leading to autocrine activation of signaling pathways, a mechanism that is characteristic for cancer cells.

We will discuss different peptides in the context of normal development and cancer in this review.

 

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