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Keywords:

  • cell–cell interaction;
  • matrix metalloproteinases;
  • metastasis;
  • tumor invasion;
  • tumor progression

Emmprin (basigin, CD147) is a cell surface glycoprotein that belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily. It is highly expressed on the surface of tumor cells and stimulates adjacent fibroblasts or tumor cells to produce matrix metalloproteinases. Moreover, it has recently been shown that emmprin also stimulates expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and hyaluronan, which leads to angiogenesis and anchorage-independent growth/multidrug resistance, respectively. These findings have made emmprin an important molecule in tumor progression and, thus, more attractive as a target for antitumor treatment. However, other functions of emmprin, including as an activator of T cells, a chaperone for monocarboxylate transporters, a receptor for cyclophilin A and a neural recognition molecule, are also being identified in physiological and pathological conditions. Therefore, it is essential to develop specific means to control particular functions of emmprin, for which elucidation of each mechanism is crucial. This review will discuss the role of emmprin in tumor progression and recent advances in the molecular mechanisms of diverse phenomena regulated by emmprin.