Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC) pathfinding: Axon guidance gene finally turned tumor suppressor

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19 Scopus citations


Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at human chromosome 18q, which includes the gene Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC), has been linked to colorectal and many other human cancers. DCC encodes the receptor for the axon guidance molecule Netrin (Net) and functions during neural development in a variety of organisms. However, since its discovery in the 1990s, the status of DCC as a tumor suppressor has been debated, primarily due to a lack of support for this hypothesis in animal models. A recent study from our laboratory capitalized on the genetic tractability of Drosophila melanogaster to demonstrate that this gene functions as an invasive tumor suppressor, thereby providing the first direct link between DCC loss and metastatic phenotypes in an animal model for cancer. Two subsequent studies from other laboratories have demonstrated that DCC suppresses tumor progression and metastasis in murine colorectal and mammary tumor models. Combined, these findings have prompted the rebirth of DCC as a tumor suppressor and highlighted the need for continued analysis of DCC function in animal models for human cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1445-1453
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Drug Targets
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 5 2012


  • Apoptosis
  • Axon guidance
  • Cancer
  • DCC
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Metastasis
  • Netrin
  • Tumor suppressor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine

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