Ep-CAM: Roles in cancer

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 15:06

Ep-CAM is a monomeric transmembrane glycoprotein that is found exclusively on every epithelial cell membrane and a variety of epithelial carcinomas and cancer-initiating cells. It mediates calcium-independent cell-cell adhesion. Because Ep-CAM is overexpressed in a variety of human carcinomas it is both a valuable marker as well as a potential therapeutic target for human solid tumors. The adhesion properties of this molecule marker are dependent upon its two epidermal growth factor-like repeats within its extracellular domain coupled with a cysteine-poor region. Experiments with the EpCAM antibody were published in Nature Cell Biology by Maetzel’s group where they analyzed both in vitro and in vivo signaling by EpCAM1. Their results shed light on the role of EpCAM nuclear signaling in proliferation. Albarenque et al used the EpCAM antibody to clarify the role of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in breast cancer metastasis development2.  These results raise safety issues about using MSCs as cell-based therapeutics and they recommend the use of murine transgenic model systems to fine-tune such applications. Mount Sinai researchers employed the EpCAM antibody to validate EpCAM nuclear localization as a diagnostic marker for aggressive thyroid cancer as well as a prognostic marker for poor overall survival (OS)3. Immunocytochemical studies with EpCAM antibody by Oxford University scientists allowed the development of an automated and highly sensitive method for identifying and enumerating circulating tumor cells in peripheral blood4.  This novel method uses the Ikoniscope robotic scanning fluorescence microscope and holds great promise as it can be applied to a wide variety of carcinomas. Conaghan et al performed flow cytometry with the EpCAM antibody to assess the distribution and expression of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in colorectral cancers5.  Their studies involve toxicity data and binding assays on a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody that specifically binds only membrane-bound CEA, and they hope to use it intravenously to treat colorectal cancers.
Novus Biologicals offers EpCAM reagents for your research needs including:


  1. 19136966
  2. 21763624
  3. 20579375
  4. 18682708
  5. 1834943

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